Despite its split off from the GKV association of German plastics processors earlier in the year, the Frankfurt, Germany-based TecPart plastic technical parts trade association presented winners of its 2022 innovation awards on the first day of the K 2022 fair.
The ceremony continues a long-standing tradition at K fairs since 1974, but this time on its own TecPart booth. Of the 11 awards, nine were for molded parts, but there were also two awards for thermoformed parts. Polymer Injection Molding
Marbach am Neckar, Germany-based BBP Kunststoffwerk Marbach Baier GmbH (Hall 6, Booth E76) was awarded for the battery housing for the Mercedes Benz Axor truck, involving overmolding of four rotationally symmetrical steel discs with 35 percent glass-fiber-reinforced nylon 6. The application demands close tolerances in the 1/100th range for precise insertion of the steel discs into the injection mold.
BBP molds the housings on a 2,000-tonne clamping force injection molding machine from Munich, Germany-based KraussMaffei Technologies GmbH (Hall 15, Booth C24-D24). The part weighs 10.2 kg and BBP succeeded in obtaining 28 percent weight reduction over the previous version housing, which was in 40 percent long-glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene.
Saalburg-Ebersdorf, Germany-based ETM Engineering Technologie Marketing GmbH was awarded for an air line, a single multi-component part used to feed fresh air to combustion engine turbochargers. It consists of a hard 30 percent glass-fiber-reinforced polybutylene terephthalate component with an integrated sensor and soft TPC-ES thermoplastic polyester bellow component, which protects the air line from movement.
Helmbrechts, Germany-based Kunststoff Helmbrechts AG (Hall 8A, Booth F11-02) received an award for a "piano black" screen-printed in-mold labeled (IML) "black panel effect" capacitive steering wheel control unit for the Volkswagen ID3 electric drive car.
The unit uses the PET film-based FFB functional film bonding technique developed by Fürth, Germany-based Leonhard Kurz Stiftung & Co. KG (Hall 5, Booth A19-E09) and it's PolyIC subsidiary to provide capacitive operation. The previous two-component control module had required 10 molding tools, now just one single mold tool suffices.
In February 2022, household appliance producer Warendorf, Germany-based Miele & Cie KG, which molds all its own plastic parts, announced that it has reduced weight by 30 percent, representing several hundred tonnes per year of plastic granulate, by using physical structural foam molding to produce laundry dryer base modules. Miele molds the modules in virgin 40 percent long-glass-fiber-reinforced PP and the covers in recycled talc-reinforced PP with a molded-on thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV) seal. The company has been using recyclate for the cover since 2021. The foam process alone accounts for 10 percent of the overall weight saving.
The process chosen by Miele is the MuCell microcellular foam molding technology from Trellig, Germany-based Trexel GmbH (Hall 13, Booth B46). It is a demanding application, as the base supports components such as the electric drive, pump, compressor, heat exchanger, cladding and feet, so it has to have tight dimensional tolerance and withstand associated high static and dynamic loads.
Soltau, Germany-based G.A. Röders GmbH & Co. KG (Hall 1, Booth A35) won three awards. One of them was a hybrid plastic/metal turbocharger bypass valve group molded in 45 percent glass-fiber-reinforced PPA, replacing an equivalent cast aluminum part. An interesting development, as Röders also produces aluminum castings. As the valve group is exposed to continuous use temperature of more than 200° C, the PPA is subjected to a post-molding crosslinking process at above 180° C. Röders has revealed that outer surface of the PPA compound layer forms an protective layer under exposure to heat above 200° C.
Coburg, Germany-based Ros GmbH & Co. KG won both a SPE CE automotive award on Oct. 17 and a TecPart award, for a close-tolerance electric vehicle flap module that eliminated assembly steps by use of in-mold assembly. The module apparently contributes towards higher cooling system effectiveness and thereby lower engine CO2 emissions.
One of the two plastics used in the application is DIC-FZ2130, a 30 percent glass fiber reinforced PPS from Parsippany, N.J.-based Sun Chemical, distributed by Düsseldorf, Germany-based DIC Europe GmbH (Hall 8b, Booth A53). The other plastic is Vestamid HTplus M1063, a 30 percent carbon fiber reinforced medium viscosity, high rigidity, antistatic, conductive, stabilized polyphthalamide (PA6T/X) from Essen, Germany-based Evonik Industries AG (Hall 6, Booth B28). The module is produced on an injection molding machine from Schwertberg, Austria-based Engel Austria GmbH (Hall 15, Booth B42-C58).
The TecPart award drew attention to the challenge of molding the part in two high temperature thermoplastic materials that have significantly different shrinkage.
Fürth, Germany-based UVEX Arbeitsschutz GmbH was awarded for a single piece polycarbonate occupational safety goggle, produced in a two-cavity injection mold, then treated with a scratch resistant coating and laser marked.
Wiedergeltingen, Germany-based thermoformer Huber Kunststoff & Technik GmbH, received two awards, for a 2.08 meter long fire engine LED tail light unit in ASA with a folded acrylic sheet to which it was bonded, and a luxury sedan rear partition wall in mainly ABS/polycarbonate blend with many integrated components and milled structures.
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