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Compared with the conventional steel version, the toolbox made of a plastic composite hybrid achieves an approximate 30% weight reduction.

Stephen Moore

February 18, 2022

2 Min Read
plastic composite hybrid truck toolbox
Image courtesy of Sabic

Sabic has collaborated with leading Chinese truck maker Dongfeng Motors to develop a novel plastic composite hybrid solution to produce a strong, lightweight truck-mounted toolbox. The application is made with a combination of Sabic’s Stamax resin, a long-glass-fiber polypropylene (PP), and continuous glass-fiber composite laminate inserts via a single overmolding process. The finished part is up to 30% lighter compared with a similarly designed steel part, and use of the solution allows Dongfeng to benefit from resulting production efficiencies.

Sabic’s hybrid solution combines Stamax resin with thermoformed composite inserts made of unidirectional (UD) glass-fiber-reinforced PP tape from China-based Qiyi Tech, a company focused on continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite materials.

The laminate inserts are pre-heated before being placed in the tool and overmolded with Stamax resin in a single operation. The inserts add stiffness and strength to critical areas of the part, enabling the use of thin-wall geometries that can reduce weight.

truck toolbox made of plastic composite hybrid

The truck-mounted composite toolbox is up to 30% lighter compared with a similarly designed part in steel.

Compared to steel, the conventional material for truck toolbox applications, Sabic’s plastic composite hybrid product expands design options, enables the consolidation of parts, and avoids secondary operations that can add cost and prevent high-volume production.

The plastic composite reduces the weight of the toolbox from 6 to 4 kg without sacrificing the stiffness, toughness, or strength required for this utility application.

Stamax resins feature 10 to 25% lower density than some competitive materials for weight-out. Their properties include stiffness and impact strength, structural performance, and easy flow for thin walls.

In addition to truck toolboxes, tailgates, seating, front-end modules, and battery housings for electric vehicles can potentially be fabricated using this hybrid solution with Stamax PP composite.

“This plastic composite solution is a great example of how Sabic helps automotive customers expand design options and simplify production so they can achieve their goals,” said Abdullah Al-Otaibi, General Manager, ETP & Market Solutions, Sabic. “By combining two different materials, our solution improves both performance and processability. Now that this composite technology is validated and in mass production with Dongfeng, we see many other automotive applications that could benefit and we are excited to help manufacturers seize those opportunities."

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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