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Covestro introduces modular table concept for cars of the future
Source:Adsale Plastics Network    Editor:JK    Date:31.Aug.2020

Many things will change in the car of the future. In the interior, there will be new functions and desire to make the best and most comfortable use of space. Flexible and appealing, lightweight and easily moldable plastics are the material of choice to make it functional.

 

Covestro takes things one step further by using a continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite (CFRTP). Its Maezio material is robust and lightweight, while also providing opportunities for high-quality and aesthetic design.


One such current example of what is possible is a space-saving, modular table concept for autonomous vehicles. Covestro has developed it in cooperation with the mechanical and process technology provider Engel Austria and Dr. Schneider Unternehmensgruppe as a direct supplier to the automotive industry.


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Together with the Engel and Dr. Schneider, Covestro has developed a space-saving, modular table concept for car interiors.


The objective was to construct a normal-sized table that is as thin as an Ultrabook, and can be stowed just as easily, for instance between the back seats, but is mechanically durable.

 

This table measures 41 cm in length and 32 cm in width, with its thickness increasing from 5 mm on the outer edge towards the inside to 10 mm – which is less than half the thickness of conventional car tables. The later fitting of hinges, already accounted for in the molding process, and ready-molded trays for pen and tablet reduce the number of components and save weight.

 

An initial version featuring a sandwich construction is shown in the interior concept. The upper and lower sides each consist of 1 millimeter thin layers of the polycarbonate composite material.


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The reinforcing carbon fibres on the surface give the table a special design.


The sandwich core is a rigid low-density polyurethane (PU) integral skin foam based on Baydur 20. Weighing just 690 grams, the table is twice the size of a conventional one and can even be loaded with 50 kg instead of 5 kg.

 

The manufacturing process was developed with partners at the LIT Factory of the Linz Institute of Technology (LIT) at Johannes Kepler University (JKU) in Linz, Austria. Here, with the help of digitalization, potentials ranging from product development to reuse can be identified and leveraged.

 

The second step of the project aims at enabling a smooth and economic large-scale production of the table with series-proven processes and to transfer the know-how gained to other applications of CFRTP composites.

 

The polycarbonate composite Maezio is not only an interesting material because of its low weight and moldability. With its noble carbon look, it is also ideal as a surface material for optically appealing surfaces for housings of laptops, smartphones or tablets, sporting goods and other articles.

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