Ticona posits alternative to SMA, PC/ABS for automotive

New to North America are a number of grades of long-fiber-reinforced polypropylene (LFR-PP) compounds from this supplier, which is promoting them as a “well-balanced” alternative to styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) and polycarbonate/acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (PC/ABS) blends in automotive instrument panels, air duct panels, and reinforcement components. The introduction is timely as SMA supply is limited, and automotive suppliers remain alert for economical alternative materials.
 
Ticona (Florence, KY) already has reference customers in Europe for instrument panels molded from its Celstran brand of LFR-PP, chief among them VW, but the North American market has been slower to specify the material for this and other large automotive interior applications. But with plastics and chemicals supplier Nova early this summer announcing it was exiting SMA supply (as reported here), LFR-PP’s chances may be good. Ticona intends to discuss the material’s use in dashboards during the Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE) Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) at Michigan State University’s Management Education Center in Troy, Mich., Sept. 15-16.
 
Ticona offers the compounds with glass-fiber content ranging of 20, 30, or 40% by weight. For the North American market, the compounds are supplied from Ticona’s Celstran plant in Winona, MN. “Comparison tests demonstrate that Celstran+ PP can outperform SMA and PC/ABS blends across the board—heat aging, weight, part integration, foam adhesion, mechanical properties, injection molding processes, and handling,” said Hansel Ramathal, product marketing at Ticona for Celstran. “Thanks to a well-balanced property profile, these new Celstran+ LFRT grades from Ticona offer our automotive OEM customers optimal part-integration and cost-reduction opportunities at a good cost position.” According to the supplier, LFR-PP offers weight and cost savings at an equal wall thickness, performs better than the other materials in low-temperature crash tests, and has superior sound dampening properties, among other benefits. [email protected]

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