Sponsored By

Glass and mineral reinforced polyamide (PA) 6 grades are making inroads into automotive engine covers, where there excellent surface appearance and outstanding processing are reportedly sought after. The Akulon Ultraflow grades are supplied by DSM Engineering Plastics (Singapore).

PlasticsToday Staff

April 1, 2014

2 Min Read
Engine cover highlights excellent surface appearance of reinforced polyamide grades

Glass and mineral reinforced polyamide (PA) 6 grades are making inroads into automotive engine covers, where there excellent surface appearance and outstanding processing are reportedly sought after. The Akulon Ultraflow grades are supplied by DSM Engineering Plastics (Singapore).

Miniature Precision Components (Walworth, WI) is the latest processor to adopt this highly cost-effective material, for covers used on hybrid electric engines. Compared to other grades of polyamide 6, Akulon Ultraflow PA 6 reportedly offers up to 80% improved flow and enables cycle time reductions of 15% up to 40%. Such substantial reductions are achieved through a combination of shorter injection and holding pressure times, faster crystallization speed, and the option to use processing temperatures 30 to 40°C lower than competing polyamides-which allows cooling time to be cut.

DSMenginecover_lo_res.jpg

Filled PA grades were custom-developed for engine cover applications with large projected areas.

The net result is higher productivity and lower system costs. Furthermore, wall thicknesses can be cut by as much as 20%. The excellent flow properties of Akulon Ultraflow also have minimal effect on its mechanical properties, which remain in line with those of more conventional reinforced polyamides. 

Mold filling simulation studies indicated that Akulon Ultraflow K-FHGM24, a polyamide 6 with 10% glass fiber reinforcement and 20% mineral filler, specifically developed by DSM for this type of application, would produce parts with significantly lower warp than other glass reinforced, mineral filled nylons. Further, computer simulations predicting Akulon would demonstrate improved dimensional stability proved to be accurate in the initial molding trials. Miniature Precision Components (MPC) and DSM approached the OEM together to obtain approval for the material, which was quickly granted.

The high dimensional stability of Akulon Ultraflow eliminates the need for large flat parts like engine covers to be put into special cooling fixtures after they have been molded to stop them distorting. This saves costs and frees up manufacturing space. "For the new engine covers, MPC is operating with a significant reduction in cycle time and material density advantage", says Mike Cuneo, Director of Product Engineering at MPC. "The parts meet tight profile tolerances and stringent appearance requirements. This combination is allowing MPC to address the VA/VE expectations from our customers to the point that legacy production parts are being changed over to gain the advantages the Akulon Ultraflow material provides."

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like