The tailgate outer panel and roof spoiler for Ford’s new Kuga crossover model that are molded from Hifax TRC 280X compounded polypropylene resin from LyondellBasell Industries (Rotterdam, Netherlands) mark the first time Ford Europe has used an advanced polyolefin in a body panel application. The 30%-talc-filled resin, which was selected for cost and weight savings, was specially tailored for the application. “Looking only at the structural parts of the tailgate, we achieved weight savings of around 30% compared to traditional solutions made out of steel,” says Thomas Pleschke, project manager at Plastal GmbH, the manufacturer of the components.
By using an advanced polyolefin in the body panel, Ford achieved weight savings of 30%, compared to steel.
Low thermal expansion and high stiffness also figured in choosing the Hifax material. At 4.5x10-5 mm/mm/°C, the resin’s coefficient of linear thermal expansion (CLTE) is said to be much lower than standard PP and lower than many engineering materials. The Hifax PP compound’s stiffness is about 3000 MPa, while standard PP resins commonly used for exterior typically average 1500 MPa. In addition, the material’s melt-flow characteristics (18 g/10 min) helped achieve the specified high-quality surface needed for painting. —[email protected]