PPS grade solves issue of headlamp haze in autos

Initz Co., a Korean-based joint venture of SK Chemicals and Japan’s Teijin Ltd., has commercialized its Ecotran polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) in collaboration with Hyundai Mobis, a global auto parts supplier. Ecotran is reportedly the first material that addresses the problem of headlamp haze.

Initz’s PPS addresses the root cause of “lamp haze,” a chronic car headlight problem. The problem occurs because plastic parts inside headlamps begin to generate gas when the internal temperature rises to over 200°C. Upon cooling the gas condenses and solidifies, adheres to the interior of the transparent lamp lens. The resultant film then undermines light projection, thus undermining the safety of both drivers and pedestrians at night. Further, the condition also adversely affects the appearance of the headlamps.

PPS grade minimizes the outgassing and impurities by utilizing solvent-free, chlorine-free production technology resulting in neither residual solvent, nor by-product sodium chloride.

Lamp haze inevitably occurs because plastics generate gas when subjected to high temperatures. Many global auto parts engineers have addressed the problem by focusing on the design of the internal structure of their headlamps as no other solution had emerged to resolve the fundamental problem.

A headlamp holder needs to be highly resistant not only to high heat but also to humidity which is generated due to the temperature gap between the inside and outside of the headlamp. A headlamp holder must also be rigid enough so that internal parts are not loosened by strong vibration.

Working closely with Hyundai Mobis, Initz resolved the lamp haze issue by incorporating glass fiber and using specially formulated resins to produce the new material. The grade is produced with a chlorine-free process and does not contain any residual solvent.

The reliability of Initz’ PPS compounds was confirmed through a methodical harsh environment test in which a headlamp molded of the new material was cycled repeatedly for 70 hours straight using eight test samples over a three-month period. Moving forward, Hyundai Mobis said it would use Initz’s PPS material in all of its headlamps in an effort to completely eliminate lamp haze.

 “We have resolved the troublesome automotive problem of headlamp haze by utilizing our technology and experience we have gained in developing the world’s first chlorine-free PPS,” Initz CEO Hyo-kyung Kim said. “We will now expand our presence in the global auto parts market through continued development of materials technology.”

Initz is expected to secure a competitive advantage in the global race for better automotive materials given that its PPS resin has resolved the haze problem of headlamps, which is one of key parts which determine the exterior appearance of a vehicle.

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