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Keywords of this article:  injection molding 
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While achieving weight reduction, safetymust not be sacrificed in modern automotive interior components and partsdesign. With special design of layers and high level of function integration,reinforced composites provide more solutions that offer lightweight benefit whilemeeting safety requirement.


Tepex dynalite from Lanxess achieves lightweight benefit for automotive applications.
Tepex dynalite from Lanxess achieves lightweight benefit for automotive applications.

Lanxess’ Tepex dynalite continuous-fiber-reinforced, semi-finished thermoplastic composites are now finding new applications in vehicle interiors. One example is the backseat system of an off road vehicle made by a European automobile manufacturer.

The center backseat is equipped with a load-through that enables the backrest of each seat to be folded down individually. This load-through component is produced by shaping and back-injecting Tepex dynalite.

Over 40% lighter than steel counterpart

The new component is said to be more than 40% lighter than its steel counterpart. At the same time, this safety-relevant component withstands all load scenarios, because the orientation of the continuous fiber layers in the only two millimeter-thick semi-finished product was designed to bear the mechanical stress.

For functional reasons, the load-through is only mounted on one side, at the top of the rear seat’s backrest. Because of its position, it is exposed to both bending and torsion forces. To withstand these load scenarios, a special multiaxial design was chosen for the continuous-glass-fiber layers in the thermoplastic composite.

Multiaxial Tepex is a new development which makes the composite sheets significantly stronger than before by combining the Tepex fabric with tapes in a technically complex process. The semi-finished product for the load-through has a core consisting of four layers, each 0.25 millimeters thick, which have a fiber orientation of +45 and -45 degrees relative to the component’s longitudinal axis and are arranged symmetrically. They absorb the torsion forces.

In contrast, the bending forces are absorbed by the two outer layers, each 0.5 millimeters thick, in which 80% of the continuous fibers are in the direction of force.

In other words, in case of a frontal collision, this multiaxial layer design ensures that the lightweight component withstands the impact of the accelerated load in the trunk, and in case of a rear collision, the inertia forces pressing the passenger into the seat.

Efficient one-shot process

To manufacture the load-through, a blank of the semi-finished product is heated, placed in the injection mold, shaped and back-injected with a glass fiber reinforced thermoplastic.

In addition to ribbing that lends the part high stiffness, numerous functional elements are integrally molded on the component in the injection molding step.

The mold for the load-through was optimized with the help of a draping simulation developed by Lanxess as part of its HiAnt services. Various shaping strategies were visualized and evaluated in the draping simulation. The results were incorporated in mold design from the outset and helped to reduce the development time significantly.                                                                        

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