Hybrid foam targets hybrid vehicles; offers battery protection

Sekisui Plastics (Osaka) plans to commence molding of polystyrene-polyethylene hybrid foam-based components at a new plant in Thailand starting this March. The foam products are used in automobiles and as packaging materials for electronic products and appliances.

Sekisui Plastics markets its Piocelan PS-PE hybrid foam in bead form for subsequent processing while it is also a processor of the material in its own right. Applications include rear seat cores, bumper cores, trunk tool boxes, tire spacers, and trunk spacers. A potential major application in the future is hybrid vehicle battery protection. Piocelan is said to combines the stiffness, lower density and excellent heat insulation properties of PS foam with the excellent shock resistance, chemical resistance and abrasion resistance of PE foam. Sekisui Plastics pegs foam usage at 10 kg per vehicle for the OEMs that it serves.

The company will employ six foam molding machines at an industrial estate around 70 km north of Bangkok with combined processing capacity of around 60 tonnes/month. It will target both Japanese and foreign automakers in Thailand, as well as well as appliance and electrical goods manufacturers. Sekisui Plastics forecasts sales of around $17 million in the year ending March 2014.