Latest developments in styrenic-resin based thermoplastic composites introduced at Composites Europe

Ineos Styrolution exhibited the latest research developments of its StyLight styrenic-resin based thermoplastic composites at the Composites Europe event in Stuttgart (November 6–8, 2018). The composites are reinforced with either glass fiber or carbon fiber.

In 2017, Ineos Styrolution presented StyLight applications for the first time at Composites Europe. Since that initial presentation, Ineos Styrolution has put a focus on analyzing the production process, determining optimized process parameters for various surface types and giving customers guidance to take advantage of the material in new application designs in the automotive industry. An example is based on a center console part manufactured by ARRK Shapers’, a producer of carbon inner trims for the automotive industry.

Process parameters for in-mold decoration (IMD) of thermoplastic composites with foils have been evaluated and suitable foil types identified.

Different surfaces, typical for automotive interior applications, were looked at and respective process parameters were determined for surfaces including leather grain, rough grain, high glossy surface, technical grain and fine grain. In total, around 120 different compression molding process setups were tested to finally determine optimal process conditions. In addition, the process parameters for in-mold decoration (IMD) with foils from the company Leonard Kurz were evaluated and suitable foil types were identified.

Processing by injection moulding was optimized in parallel on the same 3D-shaped part, back-molded with ribs and an edge enclosure. The investigation resulted in valuable information regarding process parameters and suitable injection grades. Ineos Styrolution’s efforts have resulted in leading European car manufacturers approving the material for new application designs.

Pierre Juan, VP Future Business and Innovation, comments: “2018 was a great step forward for StyLight. Customers benefit significantly from our research to optimize their respective production processes. They also have an advantage compared to thermoset composites based on epoxy resin. And, of course, I am very thrilled by the positive response of the automotive industry. The cooperation with ARRK Shapers’, for example, recently led to the full validation of StyLight according to the automotive interior specification of leading car manufacturers.”

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