Bumper materials development has taken yet another turn with DuPont Automotive's recent introduction of a new ionomer alloy based on its Surlyn material. The as-yet-unnamed grade is currently undergoing field tests, and will be appearing in a commercial application this year, according to company spokespersons. Targeting a trend toward body-color bumpers, applications for the new ionomer include replacing painted TPO in exterior fascia, trim, and mirror housings.
DuPont's Bexloy modified ionomer made automotive inroads two years ago with the Dodge Neon bumper, a molded-in-color application. For this project, the material had to be molded with a surface texture to hide scratches and marring. Aesthetically speaking, however, the surface appearance left a bit to be desired. Apparently, the new material will overcome these cosmetic problems. Gordon Chetosky, product development manager, says, "This resin will do away with the need for painting or molding in textured surfaces by offering a surface finish equal to painted parts. It will be able to be molded with a smooth surface to match the gloss and color of painted body panels."
Although the company declines to release pricing or property information at this time, a spokesperson confirmed that the material is available for purchase. DuPont contends that the new resin will lower the cost of bumper fascia systems now molded in conventional TPO material, then painted.