Dow Automotive Systems (Auburn Hills, MI), in cooperation with Dow Hyperlast (Middlesex, UK) and Kumpulan Jebco (Selangor, Malaysia), will introduce a high performance microcellular polyurethane system known as Autothane to the Chinese automotive market in early 2012.
Autothane is a microcellular polyurethane system based on hybrid polyols and MDI technology from Dow Hyperlast. It has been specifically developed for impact, shock and vibration management in chassis and suspension applications (spring aids and NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) components) and will be processed by licensee partner Kumpulan Jebco and marketed globally by Dow Automotive Systems for the China market.
A new production plant based in Yangzhou, China, is part of an $8 million investment plan by Kumpulan Jebco and will be operational in February 2012. This plant strengthens the Autothane manufacturing base which already exists in Europe, North America, India, Korea and Malaysia.
The plant will produce NVH components from Autothane, a majority closed-cell structure with integral skin that gives components high abrasion resistance, excellent hydrolytic stability, resistance to microbial degradation, high damping characteristics and longevity of on-vehicle performance.
For many years, design engineers have been making use of the unique mechanical and dynamic properties of high density microcellular polyurethane elastomers. When used in suspension systems or vibration isolation applications, these materials are known to improve vehicle handling, comfort and ride quality. The Autothane team, which includes Dow Automotive Systems and Kumpulan Jebco, aims to meet customers' specific needs in product design, prototyping, component characterization, durability testing and validation.
"We have had a long and successful relationship with Dow Hyperlast and Dow Automotive Systems during which time we have seen the market change away from rubber to microcellular polyurethane systems for these types of applications," says Kevin Loke, CEO of Kumpulan Jebco. "The expansion of our manufacturing base into China is part of a longer term plan to position manufacturing sites closer to OEMs where we will offer optimized service and support for the polyurethane and rubber components we produce. The plant at Yangzhou will be our first step and we are very excited with the opportunity to work directly with OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers in China."-[email protected]