Automotive World 2020: High-strength plastics
Products and technologies such as CFRP/GFRP molding for replacing metal and weight reduction
|View of the Automotive Lightweight Technology Expo venue|
The 12th Automotive World (Advanced Automotive Technology Exhibition) was held at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center from January 15 to 17, 2020. According to the event organizer, the number of exhibiting companies was 1,017 and the total number of visitors was 38,992 persons.
The Automotive World 2020 trade show was comprised of six different exhibition areas of automotive related technologies. This article focuses primarily on plastic materials and processing technologies, and plastic-related displays that attracted attention at the Automotive Lightweight Technology Expo and Automotive Components & Processing Technology Expo.
Numerous technologies were displayed relating to high-strength and high-rigidity plastic molded products with a high content of reinforcing material used as a substitute for metal to reduce the weight of vehicles. Processing suppliers also introduced their individual molding technologies and showed off a range of excellent molded products.
Tokyo Motor Show 2019: Plastics related components （Nov. 2019）
Unipres: Large battery case made of plastic
Unipres Corporation displayed a large battery case, a press molded part made of GF reinforced PP (glass fiber reinforced polypropylene) sheets. An aluminum plate is affixed to the back of the case to provide electromagnetic shielding. The part is press-formed to yield a large, low-cost, high-rigidity sheet, and steel is replaced by plastic to achieve weight reduction, high rigidity, and high impact resistance.
- Low pressure molding can be used for large products (low investment)
- GF composite material can be used in press forming
- The length of the residual fiber can be secured after forming
|Large battery case||Display panel: Plastic battery case (large, low cost, high rigidity COVER parts)|
(Note: All photos in this report were taken by the author)
Sekisui Plastics: Foam products made of composite materials such as CFRP
|Products made of composite foam such as CFRP
Top) ST-LAYER, Bottom) ELASTIL
Sekisui Plastics Co., Ltd. displayed two types of foam molding products. "ST-LAYER" is a CFRP composite foam molding material. This structural material is used to laminate CFRP on foam cores to manufacture products that are high in strength and light in weight, and enables a high degree of freedom in designing the shape of products. "ELASTIL" is a TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) foam, which is lightweight and elastic like rubber. The material has high grip performance and can be used for thermoforming.
Hitachi Chemical: High strength resin gear
Hitachi Chemical Company, Ltd. displayed a high-strength plastic gear formed using an aramid fiber reinforced thermosetting resin. As a result, noise and vibration as well as weight can be reduced. The high strength plastic gears can be used for applications such as the balance shaft gears in engines.
- Reduced gear meshing noise
- Wide tolerance for backlash control
- No shim adjustment required
|High strength resin gear||Display panel: High strength resin gear|
Japan U-Pica: Thermosetting resin "CBZ"
Japan U-Pica Company Ltd. displayed its CBZ series of thermosetting resins with excellent adhesion to various fibers, including carbon fibers. Carbon fiber reinforced resin (CFRP) using CBZ has excellent mechanical properties and can be designed thinner than when using liquid epoxy resin. The material contributes to weight reduction by reducing the amount of materials used.
Features and benefits:
- Excellent bonding to carbon fiber with general sizing for epoxy resin
- Excellent adhesion to glass-, aramid-, basalt- fibers
- Provides CFRP with excellent bending, compression and interlaminar shear strength properties
- Low water up-take
- Resistance to moisture, oils, and fuels
- Excellent impregnation properties
|CFRP molded product using CBZ||Display panel: Thermosetting resin “CBZ” for CFRP products|
Sumitomo Chemical: LCP fiber reinforced compound
Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. introduced two types of LCP (liquid crystal polymer) fiber reinforced grade compounds: a high rigidity LCP/CF (carbon fiber) compound and a high shock absorption LCP/GF (glass fiber) compound. The former has the highest rigidity among injection molding plastics, is lighter than metal and has stiffness that is superior to magnesium. The latter has the same impact strength and rigidity as a press-formed product, and the same impact strength as metal.
|Products molded using LCP fiber reinforced compound||Display panel: LCP fiber reinforced compound|
Sunwa Trading: PET composite sandwich panels
|PET composite sandwich panels|
Sunwa Trading Corporation displayed the core material AIREX T92 (manufactured by 3A Composites), which is a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) thermoplastic structural rigid foam, and the bonded skin material is made of continuous fiber GF (glass fiber) and PP (polypropylene). The material can be used for hot press molding. The material’s advantages include properties such as suitability for integral forming, and is lightweight and highly rigid.
In addition, the company displayed various products with high rigidity and high strength made with a variety of C/G GRP hybrid molding materials.
JFE Chemical: Stampable sheet
JFE Chemical Corporation displayed stampable sheet, a sheet-shaped press forming base material mainly comprised of PP (polypropylene) reinforced with glass fiber.
- Homogeneous dispersion of high specific gravity glass fiber into low specific gravity thermoplastic resin utilizing papermaking technology
- Possible to use multiple material combinations
- Foam molding on site reduces transport volume and costs
- Thickness during expansion can be adjusted by adding foam material
|Stampable sheet||Display panel: Plastic molding material
Nicki Try System: CNT resin composite “Calabion”
Nicki Try System Co., Ltd. displayed its proposal to solve problems of glass fiber + resin by using CNT (carbon nanotube) resin composite. As a solution to the problem of the generation of glass dust during the injection-molding process or in use, and the inability to recycle material (the use of glass-containing materials is expected to be restricted in the future), the Calabion series replaces glass-reinforced resins with carbon + resin using CNT resin composite, which also improves conductivity and heat resistance.
|Proposal of carbon + resin using CNT||Display panel: CNT resin composite "Calabion"|
Kitagawa Seiki：CFRTP molded products using composite material lamination
|CFRTP side impact bar prototype.
Molded product using composite material lamination.
Kitagawa Seiki Co., Ltd. displayed a prototype of a door side impact bar made of CFRTP. The product was introduced as the result of joint research conducted between the company and the Hiroshima Prefectural Technology Research Institute. The technology was developed for the volume production of unidirectional continuous fiber laminates that can mold CFRTP (carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic), which is used for large parts and has a high degree of freedom with regards to the lamination configuration.
Takagi Seiko: C/GFRP bumper beam using high-speed stamping press molding process
Takagi Seiko Corporation displayed a bumper beam manufactured by processing a thermoplastic resin composite material (C/GFRP) sheet by high-speed stamping press molding.
Characteristics of molding process:
- Volume production possible at the same cycle times as injection molding
- Product strength can be ensured by combining multiple fabric-reinforced fiber materials
- Fully automated system achieves stable quality production
|Bumper beam made of C/GFRP||Display panel: High-speed stamp press molding process/td>|
IHI：CFRTP molding system
IHI Logistics & Machinery Corporation introduced molded products and raw material sheets by means of its unique CFRTP (carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic) molding system.
Features of molding system:
- Supplying equipment as a total production system
- Application of CFRP production technology for jet engine parts
- Available for products with variation in thickness
- Reduce cycle times
|CFRTP sheet and molded product||Display panel: Thermoplastic molding system|
Fukui Fibertech：FRP pultrusion molding
Fukui Fibertech Co., Ltd. introduced molded products reinforced by adding fiberglass roving and glass fiber mats to resin using pultrulsion. The product displayed is a high-strength, high-rigidity material that contains glass fiber in PA6 (polyamide 6) in a volume basis of 65 to 70% (80% by weight). The reinforcing material used may be glass fiber or carbon fiber, and the matrix resin used may be a thermoplastic resin or a thermosetting resin.
|Fiber reinforced member made by pultrusion molding||Display panel: Pultrusion molding|
Nikou Giken：Nylon casting
Nikou Giken Co., Ltd. displayed an engine cover made of PA6 (polyamide 6) reinforced with glass beads. The company developed a nylon 6 (PA6) monomer material and molding equipment suitable for silicone molds, and established a unique nylon casting system for manufacturing nylon products by vacuum casting.
Features of molding method:
- No mold required
- Low cost and short delivery time compared to injection molding using dies
- High performance: Excellent heat resistance, impact resistance, airtightness, chemical resistance, and abrasion resistance
|Engine cover molded by nylon casting||Display panel: Nylon casting|
eCONeCOL： High filling high speed melting
ECONECOL Inc. introduced its processing technology for mixing and melting filler and resin material.
- High filling and high-speed melting: The mixing ratio exceeds the conventional ratio, and the resin material can contain 85% wood powder and 70% carbon fiber.
- The technology is expected to result in reduced CO2 emissions, effective use of unused resources, and a reduction of industrial waste.
- Since the method does not require heating with a heater or a compatibilizer, the physical properties of the raw material do not deteriorate, so it is suitable for recycling material multiple times.
|Products molded using high filling and high-speed melting||Display panel: High filling and high-speed melting|
Automotive World, Lightweighting, Plastic Injection molding, Plastic, CFRP, GFRP, Unipres, Sekisui Plastics, Hitachi Chemical, Japan U-Pica, Sumitomo Chemical, Sunwa Trading, JFE Chemical, Nicki Try System, Kitagawa Seiki, Takagi Seiko, IHI, Fukui Fibertech, Nikou Giken, eCONeCOL, Battery Case, Gear, Bonnet, Side Impact Bar, Bumper Beam
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