Borealis expands automotive compounds capacity in North America

Borealis has announced that its new compounding plant in Taylorsville, North Carolina, has come on stream during Q1 2019 as planned, with the inauguration of the facility scheduled for 16 May 2019. With dedicated production lines for thermoplastic olefin (TPO) and short glass fibre (SGF) reinforced compounds, the plant is located in the southeast of the United States to meet the growing needs of automakers and Tier 1 customers in the region for advanced polypropylene (PP) solutions, while adding another 30,000 tonnes/yr to the companies’ global PP compounding capacity. The 50,000-square-foot facility, with rail siding in place, offers further expansion possibilities to meet the growing demand of customers.

Borealis’ new PP compounding plant at Taylorsville, North Carolina, adds 30kt to the company’s global production capacity for automotive thermoplastic olefin and short glass fiber reinforced material grades.

The lower dashboard, glove box and center console of the new Škoda Scala are molded in Daplen EE058AI, enabling weight savings of 6.5 percent over the previous 20 percent talc solution.

“With the commercial and product development personnel well out of the starting blocks, our North American automotive team is set to drive the further growth of our automotive business in North America,” says Lucrèce Foufopolous, Executive Vice President Polyolefins and Innovation & Technology, Borealis. “Following the plant’s mechanical completion in December, first samples were shipped in February, and several projects with leading North American and European OEMs have already been secured.”

The new plant is an important addition to the global network of Borealis and affiliate Borouge’s established compounding plants in Europe, China, and Brazil. Among the first products manufactured at the plant, are automotive interior and exterior materials approved and listed by major automotive customers, including Daimler and Volkswagen Group.

Borealis has also added an advanced new material to its low-density polypropylene portfolio for interior applications, Daplen EE058AI. “The 10 percent talc-filled and elastomer-modified high-purity grade is designed to meet the latest OEM requirements for automotive interior applications with low odor, emission, and fogging levels, while offering significant weight savings,” explains Nicholas Kolesch, Head of Automotive Marketing for Borealis. “It combines an excellent balance of stiffness and impact strength with class A aesthetic surfaces and high scratch resistance.” The grade also offers weight savings of 6.5% over conventional 20 percent talc-filled grades of PP compound.

Daplen EE058AI targets global approvals and is available in all Borealis and Borouge sales regions. Borealis exhibited various first commercial interior applications, including lower dashboard, glove box and centre console moldings used in the new Škoda Scala compact car, as well as in the automaker’s new Kamiq urban sports utility vehicle at the VDI Plastics in Automotive Engineering (PIAE) Congress at the Rosengarten Congress Centre in Mannheim, Germany, held 3–4 April 2019.

“We have successfully been using existing Daplen products in similar components before, but the new EE058AI grade offers unprecedented weight savings of up to 6.5 percent without compromising performance, which helps us lower our carbon footprint to meet committed fleet emission levels,” adds Luděk Bělka, Coordinator Development Dashboard for Škoda. Borealis Daplen and Fibremod long glass fiber thermoplastic materials are also used in further Scala parts, from the interior door panels and dashboard carrier to the front-end module.

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