Automotive World 2020: Plastics for electrical components and interiors

Product technologies for high-frequency, decorative and plating, and HMI applications



クルマの軽量化技術展 会場風景
Automotive World 2020 West Exhibition Hall Entrance (photo taken by author)

  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.

  This report introduces primarily the decoration technologies, materials and processing technologies for electrical components, and focuses on the plastic-related displays that attracted attention at the Automotive Lightweight Technology Expo and Automotive Components & Processing Expo.

  This report focuses on the trends in plastic-related technologies that are expected to increase in demand due to the evolution of autonomous driving and HMI (Human Machine Interface) technologies, such as those materials for heat resistance and high frequency applications and proprietary plating technologies.


Related reports:
Automotive World 2020: High-strength plastics (Feb. 2020)
Tokyo Motor Show 2019: Plastics related components (Nov. 2019)


Rubycon: Power semiconductor module incorporating film capacitors

  Rubycon Corporation displayed an automotive power semiconductor module that incorporated film capacitors. Rubycon has achieved the industry's highest level of miniaturization by using high-precision winding and vapor deposition processing technologies for thin films. The seals of the semiconductor module are likely made of epoxy resin and the housing of PPS (polyphenylene sulfide).

自動車用パワー半導体モジュール フィルムコンデンサ
Example of film capacitors used in combination with power semiconductor modules for automotive applications. Display panel: Film capacitors

(Note: All photos in this report were taken by the author)

Idemitsu Kosan: SPS resin for high frequency component applications

  Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. displayed a high-frequency connector as an SPS (syndiotactic polystyrene) resin molded product that is electrically stable over a wide range of frequencies. The material’s electrical properties, including its dissipation factor and dielectric constant, are higher than fluororesins, but lower than most other engineering plastics.

  The company also displayed materials such as high durability and high transparency PC (polycarbonate) for LED lighting, PC for light guiding panels, high strength and high transparency GF reinforced PC (glass fiber reinforced polycarbonate), SPS for high voltage components, high strength and high rigidity long fiber reinforced SPS, and other engineering plastics.

高周波コネクター XAREC
High frequency connector (SPS molded product) Display panel: SPS resin "XAREC" for high frequency component applications

JX Liquid Crystal: Conductive liquid crystal polymer

  JX Nippon LC Co., Ltd. displayed a MID (molded interconnect device) part made of conductive LCP (liquid crystal polymer).


  • Higher heat dissipation than conventional LCP, the thermoplastic resin material can be applied to elements that easily store heat.
  • Suitable for vibrating elements due to better vibration damping performance than metals.
  • The material’s low dielectric loss and low dielectric loss tangent electrical properties make it possible to suppress signal processing losses associated with high-speed transmission and communications when used for substrates compared to conventional substrates made of glass epoxy resin.
  • The material is effective for electromagnetic wave shielding due to its conductivity.  Applicable as a substitute for metal materials.

導電性LCPによるMID成形品 Xydar
MID product made of conductive LCP Display panel: Liquid crystal polymer "Xydar"

Unitika: Flexible heat-resistant polyamide

  Unitika Ltd. displayed a high heat resistant aromatic polyamide (PA6T type) resin material with a flexible component introduced into the molecular structure of the compound. The material is flexible enough to tie into dumbbell-shaped pieces, and can be expected to be used for novel applications. Unitika displayed a number of product samples made of PA6T (XecoT) and indicated its intention to actively develop the market for this material.

柔軟耐熱性PAの成形品 柔軟耐熱ポリアミド
Products molded using flexible heat-resistant PA Display panel: Flexible heat-resistant polyamide

Matsumoto Kakou: Hotmelt molded electronic components

Sensor substrate made by hotmelt molding

  Matsumoto Kakou Co., Ltd. exhibited its molding technology for injecting thermoplastic hot melt adhesive into molds at low pressure. Low pressure injection allows for the molding of products such as electronic parts without damaging delicate insert work. Matsumoto Kakou displayed numerous examples of many applications of products manufactured using this molding method.

ホットメルト成形の応用例 ホットメルト成形の応用例
Hot melt molding application examples (Photos courtesy of Matsumoto Kakou)

Tsukada Riken Industry: Forming circuits using "TP-MID" plating

Products formed using TP-MID (LDS method)

  Tsukada Riken Industry Co., Ltd. is a surface treatment manufacturer that exhibited the LDS (Laser Direct Structuring) method, a three-dimensional wiring plating technology developed by LPKF Laser & Electronics AG. Using a resin material in which a metal complex is dispersed, the complex is reduced by a laser beam to form plating catalyst metal nuclei, and the printed circuit is formed using selective plating.

TP-MID (LDS method) process

  Injection molding of LDS-certified material (PBT was displayed) and laser processing to form printed circuits.
→ Metallizing is performed using electroless plating and surface treatment (solder resist) is applied.
→ Printed circuits are formed by electroless Ni (nickel) plating and/or electroless Au (gold) plating.


Toyobo: Electromagnetic wave shielding material using resin plating

  Toyobo Co., Ltd. displayed electromagnetic shielding materials made using resin plating include high heat-resistant PA (polyamide), general-purpose PA, and PET (polyethylene terephthalate), and are suitable for product applications such as ECU cases and battery cases.


  • Good plating adhesion
  • Electromagnetic shielding, rigidity and heat resistance
  • Can be produced with ABS plating equipment, compatible with reflow soldering (high heat resistant PA grade)

樹脂めっきによる電磁波シールド材 樹脂めっき・電磁波シールド材料
Electromagnetic wave shielding materials made by resin plating Display panel: Resin plating, and electromagnetic wave shielding materials

Teikoku Ink Manufacturing: Stealth printing

  Teikoku Printing Inks Mfg. Co., Ltd. exhibited its technology for stealth printing, having a four-layer structure, which is used for components such as switch panels. The first layer (back) is made of IR-transparent ink, and the second layer (back) is printed with a black-less ink pattern. The next layers of materials are then applied to form the part. When a backlight is applied to this molded product, the hidden characters then become visible.

ステルス印刷の成形品 ステルス印刷
Stealth printed moldings Display panel: Stealth printing

Yamashita Electric: Piano black paintless and weldless molding

  Piano black parts are often used for interior parts with high-quality appearance. Glossy black molded products are often painted because the weld line is particularly noticeable, but Yamashita Electric Co., Ltd.’s Y-HeaT weldless molding technology is paint-free and can be molded in piano black. It contributes to cost reduction by requiring less painting.

ウエルドレス成形品 ウエルドレス成形
Shift knob base
Piano black paintless and weldless molding
Display panel: Y-HeaT weldless molding

Nexus: Next-generation super-gloss plating paint technology

  Nexus Japan Co., Ltd. displayed high luminance painted products molded using its "Ultra Nex Paint” next-generation super-gloss plating-style paint technology. As long as it has heat resistance properties, any material can be used, from plastics such as PP (polypropylene) and PPS (polyphenylene sulfide) to metals, glass and rubber.

Advantages of painting instead of plating:

  • No chromium elution, safe and secure
  • Adhesion is better than plating
  • Safe because there is no surface peeling
  • Passes electrical signals
  • Able to realize half mirror features

高輝度塗装品 ウルトラネクスペイント
High luminance painted products Display panel: Next-generation super-gloss plating-style paint technology "Ultra Nex Paint"

Plating technology (Okuno Chemical, Kakihara, Taiyo, Osaka Vacuum Chemical)

Okuno Chemical: CFRP plating process

  Okuno Chemical Industries Co., Ltd. is a long-established manufacturer of plastic plating and exhibited many interesting plating technologies. By applying lightweight, high-strength, and high-rigidity plating to CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic), products can be made with high added value features such as improved wear resistance, design freedom, and weather resistance.

CFRPのめっき品 トップTFAC
CFRP plated products Display panel: CFRP plating process "Top TFAC"


Kakihara Industries: Dark tone trivalent chromium plating

  Kakihara Industries Co., Ltd.’s dark tone trivalent chromium plating technology achieves a rich color feeling that was impossible with conventional painting and chrome plating. In addition to Platinum Satin, Dark Titanium and Super Dark color tones, the company displayed a new color, Fortissimo Dark.

各種プラスチックめっき製品 ダーク調3価クロムめっき
Various plastic plating products Display panel: Dark tone trivalent chromium plating


Taiyo Manufacturing: Plastic plating molding

Various plastic plating molded products

  Taiyo Manufacturing Co., Ltd. exhibited a silica-based thin film coating (E coat) process that is applied to plastic plating surfaces, enabling the following characteristics:

  • Significantly improved corrosion and chemical resistance
  • Significantly improved fingerprint resistance
  • Eliminates odor peculiar to chrome coating (trivalent)
  • Adjustable colors that cannot be achieved with chrome plating
  • Greatly improved wear resistance
  • Greatly improved scratch resistance
  • Preservation of metal texture by thin film finish


Osaka Vacuum Chemical: Two-color molding plating

  Osaka Vacuum Chemical Co., Ltd. exhibited products using its technology for the two-color molding of resins with different plating properties (for example, ABS resin and PC) and partial plating.

2色成形めっき 各種めっき技術
Two-color molding plating Display panel: Various plating technologies

Welding and bonding technology (Toyobo, Adwelds, Yamauchi Seiki, Fujimori Kogyo)

Toyobo: Adhesion of soft and hard dissimilar materials

  Toyobo Co., Ltd. introduced its soft and hard dissimilar material bonding technology. Two kinds of resins are introduced from the ends of the test piece and bonded at the weld area. Specific material combinations are shown below. It is necessary to select the appropriate grade of material.

  • PBT + polyester elastomer
  • PA + olefin elastomer



  • Lineup of products with excellent adhesion to soft and hard materials
  • Adhesion stron enough to break the base metal
  • Simplified process that does not use adhesives
  • Also applicable for heat resistant applications

異種材接着による成形品 異種材接着
Products molded by dissimilar material bonding Display panel: Adhesion of different materials


Adwelds: Ultrasonic welding machine

  Adwelds Co., Ltd. used its ultrasonic welding machine to introduce its process of manufacturing UD (uni-directional) tape sheets from CF (carbon fiber) and thermoplastic resin sheets.

超音波溶着によるUDテープの成形工程 超音波溶着サンプル
Manufacturing process for UD tape using ultrasonic welding Ultrasonic welding sample


Yamauchi Seiki: Infrared welding machine/span>

Infrared welded molded product

  Yamauchi Seiki Co., Ltd. displayed products molded with styrene resin welded using an infrared welding machine. Infrared welding machines leverage the fast start-up performance of infrared heaters used for heating, eliminating the need for preheating before processing.

Features of infrared welding:

  • Clean method using non-contact heating
  • High joint strength and pressure resistance
  • Increased energy efficiency of production process
  • Easy installation of jigs on welding machines


Fujimori: PP impregnated adhesive film

  Fujimori Kogyo Co., Ltd. introduced molded products using PP (polypropylene) impregnated adhesive film. The adhesion to various surfaces is quite high.

 Features of PP impregnated adhesive film:

  • High water and chemical resistance
  • Short cycle time molding possible for thermoplastic resins
  • Maintains shape above melting points with post-crosslinking structure

PP系含浸接着性フィルムを使用した成形品 PP系含浸接着性フィルム
Molded products using PP impregnated adhesive film Display panel: PP impregnated adhesive film

Various automotive plastic applications

There were also many other interesting plastic-related products and technologies exhibited at the Automotive World 2020 exhibition, as noted below.

  • Asahi Kasei Corporation's “AKXYPOD” next-generation cabin space concept
  • Sumitomo Bakelite Co., Ltd.’s thermoplastic resin (phenolic resin, epoxy resin)
  • Mitsubishi Materials Corporation's highly flame-retardant and high-speed, heat-resistant resin for LiB packs
  • Rapiit Co., Ltd.’s CFRTP integrated wheels
  • Shanghai Dongjie Polymer Material Co., Ltd.’s material for exterior panels
  • Horimasa Co. Ltd.'s biocomposite materials
  • Sanyu Rec Co., Ltd’s foamed epoxy resins
  • Funtech Inc.’s injection molded plastic fans
  • Various plated emblems from Uehara Nameplate Industry Co., Ltd.
  • Jun Corporation's resin bent pipe
  • Toray Industries, Inc.’s artificial leather
  • Mino Group Co., Ltd’s metal decorative film for car interior products
  • KGK Chemical Corporation's casting technology for LCP film
  • Suzuichi Co., Ltd.’s carbon + dissimilar material adhesion
  • Panasonic Industrial Devices Sunx Co., Ltd.’s laser welding machine
Asahi Kasei's next-generation cabin space concept "AKXYPOD"
Made of materials such as 100% recyclable high quality artificial skin, foamed polyamide resin with sound absorbing properties, and electrostatic input devices with transparent film using fine wiring technology.
Materials for outer panels made of high-functional fiber-reinforced dicyclopentadiene.


Applications of resin products for automotive applications

Unitika’s Approaching Applications Toyobo’s concept car project

Automotive World, Plastic Injection molding, Plastic, Decoration, Surface Treatment, Plating, Bonding, Welding, ECU, Connector, Sensor, Rubycon, Idemitsu Kosan, JX Liquid Crystal, Unitika, Matsumoto Kakou, Tsukada Riken Industry, Toyobo, Teikoku Ink Manufacturing, Yamashita Electric, Nexus, Okuno Chemical, Kakihara, Taiyo, Osaka Vacuum Chemical, Adwells, Yamauchi Seiki, Fujimori Kogyo

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