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Borealis unveils solutions for auto lightweighting, aesthetics enhancements

Borealis (Vienna, Austria) and affiliate Borouge (Singapore) have introduced several new and upgraded material solutions engineered that say claim will enable the automotive industry to achieve greater cost efficiency, higher performance and improved sustainability in vehicle components. The new lightweight grades Fibremod WE380HP and Daplen EE058AI will be showcased in October at the IZB 2014, 14-16 October 2014, in Wolfsburg, Germany, along with a Brazilian premiere grade.

Borealis (Vienna, Austria) and affiliate Borouge (Singapore) have introduced several new and upgraded material solutions engineered that say claim will enable the automotive industry to achieve greater cost efficiency, higher performance and improved sustainability in vehicle components.

The new lightweight grades Fibremod WE380HP and Daplen EE058AI will be showcased in October at the IZB 2014, 14-16 October 2014, in Wolfsburg, Germany, along with a Brazilian premiere grade.

Fibremod WE380HP hybrid reinforced PP grade can be employed in auto interior components such as theĀ  central armrest.
In so-called hybrid grades, reinforcing polypropylene (PP) with a combination of glass fiber and mineral filler yields a special performance grade. As one such grade, Fibremod WE380HP is a new hybrid PP compound comprised of 20% glass fiber reinforcement and 10% mineral filler. It is intended for use in both structural and visible automotive parts, such as under-the-bonnet (engine covers, gear housings) and high-end interior applications (window frames, arm rests). As a replacement for other materials, Fibremod WE380HP is a lightweight solution that contributes to lower fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions without compromising on visual aesthetics or performance. The grade can reportedly bear a high mechanical load, offers excellent processability, outstanding dimensional stability, low warpage, good heat resistance and allows for color compounding. In addition to this new material, other lightweight grades being highlighted at the IZB include the PP natural fiber grades NJ200AI and NJ201AI, both of which allow for 9% weight savings when compared to a PP-T20.

The recently-launched thermoplastic olefin (TPO) compound Daplen EE058AI is not only lightweight, but also offers tiger stripe-free technology, as does the upgraded Daplen EE189HP according to Borealis. "Automotive OEMs continue to seek out materials that help reduce overall vehicle weight in order to improve fuel consumption and fulfil stringent CO2 emissions standards, while still meeting requirements in terms of efficient processing and surface aesthetics," the supplier says. "The phenomenon of tiger stripes - the visually recognizable periodic change of surface gloss - is caused by converting processes and is a general problem for all thermoplastic materials, including polyolefins." Daplen EE058AI reportedly boasts an excellent property profile and is a fitting replacement for conventional T15 and T20 interior materials.

"Borealis and Borouge are attuned to the needs and demands of the automotive industry," says Harald Hammer, Borealis Vice President of Engineering Applications. "We will continue to develop lightweight PP solutions for automotive compounds that not only help our customers and partners achieve broader, long-term sustainability objectives, but also enhance automotive surface aesthetics."

VW production in Brazil

Borealis and Borouge's portfolio of global automotive material grades also includes Daplen EE158AIB, a 13% mineral-filled thermoplastic olefin (TPO) compound. This grade had already been adopted by Volkswagen for the European production of door panels in its new Up! model, and has now been chosen for Up! production in Brazil as well. This is the first time Volkswagen has selected a PE/PP TD13 material for its South American production operations. The grade reportedly helps the manufacturer achieve its lightweighting targets whilst providing excellent mechanical performance, high UV and scratch resistance, low emission and fogging, and superior aesthetics. Borealis and Borouge material solutions are also being implemented in the Up! model's dashboard, centre console, pillar and sill panels.

The South American operations of global automotive manufacturers and OEMs are served through increased Borealis activity in the region, principally through the expansion of the plant in Itatiba, near Sao Paulo, Brazil. This EUR45 million ($58 million) project involves the construction of an additional production building, and installation of two PP compounding extruders, as well blending and raw material silos, warehouse facilities and a bagging line. In addition, extensive upgrading of utility and water systems is being carried out.

With nearly 80% of the construction project completed, the commissioning and start-up plan has already commenced. The new capacity is scheduled to go 100% on stream during the fourth quarter of 2014 and its output will significantly augment current annual production in Brazil of high-performance PP compounds. Consequently, Borealis says it will be able to better serve growing regional market demand and pursue new opportunities in innovative applications in the automotive industry and beyond.

"Our Itatiba expansion is a clear indication of Borealis' commitment to becoming the leading supplier to the South American automotive industry," explains Jost Eric Laumeyer, Borealis Global Marketing Manager Engineering Applications. "As we grow our asset footprint in South America, our expansion efforts will help solidify our current partnerships whilst at the same time enabling us to seek out additional opportunities in cooperation with new global partners."

Visit Borealis and Borouge from at the IZB in Wolfsburg, Germany in Hall 6, Stand 220.

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