Sunroof module weight is slashed through short glass fiber

Sunroof module weight is slashed through short glass fiber

More expensive materials including long glass fiber-reinforced polypropylene  (PP) and short-glass ASA/PBT resins have been substituted by a short-fiber PP resin from Asahi Kasei Plastics (Fowlerville, MI) in the 2010 Cadillac CTS. The material switch resulted in a 12% weight reduction, a 24% savings in component cost and a 47% savings in capital costs.

More expensive materials including long glass fiber-reinforced polypropylene  (PP) and short-glass ASA/PBT resins have been substituted by a short-fiber PP resin from Asahi Kasei Plastics (Fowlerville, MI) in the 2010 Cadillac CTS. The material switch resulted in a 12% weight reduction, a 24% savings in component cost and a 47% savings in capital costs.

Asahi
Short fiber PP key to innovative sunroof design.
The innovative sunroof module was designed and built by Inalfa Roof Systems (Venray, The Netherlands). The one-square meter part is the automotive industry's first fully integrated sunroof module made entirely from short glass fiber-reinforced PP.

"The Cadillac sunroof module is a perfect example of the many potential benefits afforded by this resin technology," said Ramesh Iyer, Director of Business Development at Asahi Kasei Plastics. "The Thermylene family of resins provides long-fiber performance properties with the weight, cost and processing advantages of short-fiber resin technology."

Nominated for an award in the Process, Assembly and Enabling Technologies category of the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Program in 2010, the sunroof module replaces a four-part assembly consisting of metal, glass-fiber reinforced ASA/PBT and long-fiber reinforced PP with a single short glass PP frame.  Thermylene  P7-45FG-0790 assisted in lowering module weight and reduced molding cycle time by 15 seconds. The elimination of the four-piece assembly operation saved an additional 67 seconds.

"The innovative design of the sunroof module was achieved by a team effort involving General Motors and all the suppliers," said Iyer. In addition to Asahi Kasei Plastics and systems supplier Inalfa Roof Systems, the supply team also included material processor NS Technologies Group (Milton, ON) and tooling supplier Datrin Industry Co. (Hong Kong)-mpweditorial@ubm.com

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