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Asahi Kasei Presents New Concept Car and More at K 2022

Diversified material solutions for more sustainable and comfortable mobility are highlighted.

Stephen Moore

August 26, 2022

3 Min Read
rendering of stand at K 2022
Image courtesy of Asahi Kasei

As a Japanese materials company making a concerted effort to step up activities in Europe, Asahi Kasei will have a strong presence at K 2022 in Düsseldorf, Germany, where it opened a foam lab at its R&D Center in April of this year. Besides a plethora of materials solutions focused on mobility, the company will also present its newest concept car, the AKXY2 for the first time in Europe.

The AKXY2 concept vehicle incorporates various sustainable materials such as polycarbonate glazing made from Asahi Kasei’s proprietary process based on CO2.

All of the windows in the AKXY2 are made of hard-coated polycarbonate (PC) through a manufacturing method developed by Asahi Kasei in 2002 that uses CO2 as a raw material for its production. Today, 15% of global PC production utilizes this Asahi Kasei production technology.

To enable polycarbonate for applications in automotive windshields, Asahi Kasei is currently developing a hard-coating technology that equips polycarbonate with UN ECE R43-compliant resistance to abrasion and weatherability. Replacing glass with this polycarbonate will significantly reduce vehicle weight and extend EV driving range. UN ECE R43 from the United Nations stipulates regulations around uniform provisions concerning the approval of safety glazing materials and their installation on vehicles.

AKXY2 also utilizes AZP, a transparent optical polymer developed by Asahi Kasei, in the interior display. The plastic features an ultra-low birefringence and ensures a perfect screen visibility without rainbow effects. Plastics with low birefringence yield less distortion of the projected images, making them particularly attractive for heads-up displays on windshields and dashboard navigation systems.

Particle foams for battery cell holders

Asahi Kasei will also present its SunForce family of innovative particle foams at K. Based on various engineering plastics, they are processable on standard foam-molding equipment. SunForce BE is based on modified polyphenylene ether (mPPE) and features an unmatched combination of lightweight, UL94 V-0 flame retardance, thin-wall moldability, thermal insulation, and processability.

Particle foam based on modified polyphenylene ether can be used in round-cell EV battery packs without the need for adhesives.

At K 2022, Asahi Kasei will display 4680 and 2170 round cell holders made of this material. In this application, the material allows for the precise fixation and alignment of round cells without the use of any adhesives. The material is also suitable for battery-pack applications for other cell designs such as pouch cells and prismatic cells.

Another particle foam, SunForce AS is based on polyamide (PA) and its high stiffness and strength make it an ideal material for metal replacement in structural automotive components. This type also has the highest chemical and heat resistance properties in the product family.

Cellulose-based reinforcing fibers

Asahi Kasei’s expertise in the field of cellulose goes back 90 years, when it first started sales of fiber with the trade name Bemberg. These “Cupro” fibers were made of cotton waste called linter — tiny silky cotton fibers that are too small to spin.

The company is now adapting this know-how to other application fields and developing a cellulose-based nanofiber filler material (CNF). Featuring a substantially higher purity than conventional wood-based cellulose, CNF derived from cotton-linter is an alternative to glass fiber and can be used in engineering plastics like PA 6, PA 66, and polyacetal with a ratio of up to 20wt%. 

Asahi Kasei will also display its Leona SG grades, a family of semi-aromatic polyamides featuring excellent mechanical strength, processability, and surface quality, as well as Xyron mPPE for 5G applications. The company will also present the background to its renewable-attributed polyacetal and polyphenylene ether at K 2022.

Asahi Kasei will showcase these innovations and more at booth E23 in hall 8a at K 2022, which runs from Oct. 19 to 26 at Messe Düsseldorf.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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