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Foam injection moulding for visible automotive components

Wednesday, 13 July 2022  MACPLAS - Materials

The global leader in the chemical industry, Sabic, introduced a specialized portfolio of Sabic PP compounds for foam injection molding (FIM). New mineral-reinforced PPc F9005, PPc F9007 and PPc F9015 grades can help deliver excellent aesthetics for visible automotive interior parts with complex geometries, such as door panels and trim, seat and trunk cladding, A/B/C/D pillar covers and center consoles.

Unlike standard FIM materials, which typically exhibit surface defects, the new advanced PP compounds feature uniformly high surface quality similar to solid injection molded parts. Compared to solid components, foamed parts made with SABIC PP compounds offer significant weight savings that can help cut emissions. According to a cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment study (pending third-party review), the advanced new materials can help OEMs lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by as much as 15%.

 Previously, the FIM process was essentially limited to non-visible parts, restricting its usefulness in automotive applications. Foaming can underperform in surface aesthetics: silver streaking, swirl lines and dimples are common defects. Sabic PP compounds for foamed interior parts deliver low-gloss textured (grained) surfaces with uniformly high quality, including the elimination of streaking and swirling.

Talc filler in these grades acts as a nucleator that promotes the generation of finer bubbles, which contribute to a consistent surface appearance. For enhanced aesthetics, these grades are currently available in selected automotive interior colors with custom coloring also available.

“The automotive industry continues to look for new weight-out strategies that can advance energy efficiency and sustainability goals,” said Abdullah Al-Otaibi, general manager, ETP & Market Solutions, SABIC. “Although foam injection molding produces desirable lightweight parts, manufacturers have been forced to sacrifice aesthetics, until now. We applied our extensive expertise in foaming technology to develop these new compounds to help resolve the issue of surface quality and open new application opportunities for foamed parts.”

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