At the PolyOne VDI stand in Mannheim, Germany, last week, the company exhibited a range of specialty materials aimed at optimizing sustainability, improving design freedom, and boosting manufacturing efficiency. One of the areas targeted was vibration and noise control, with a starring role for the company's OnFlex TPE material. With this TPE material, the company stated, automakers and suppliers will be better able to achieve their goals regarding product esthetics, performance characteristics, and cost reduction.
Automotive mirror sealing applications, in particular, can benefit from using the OnFlex material compared with traditional thermoset rubber and other competitive materials. Two reasons for using TPE are the enhanced design freedom and greater production efficiencies due to extended durability. Moreover, the TPE can be overmolded onto a substrate, which enables part consolidation-thus, improving cycle time and productivity-avoids leaks, and reduces vibration and noise from part interactions. According to PolyOne, OnFlex TPEs deliver advantages over competitive TPEs as well as thermoset rubber, due to superior surface properties, ultraviolet resistance, and overall weatherability. OnFlex TPE materials, said PolyOne, retain their color, adhesion, and integrity even when exposed to harsh conditions.
Also on display were the company's recently introduced low-temperature Geon VBX vinyl powder formulations for efficient slush molding of automotive interior surfaces and instrument panels. According to PolyOne, not only do the formulations meet OEM low temperature requirements, during trial testing versus existing materials, both solutions displayed a 15% reduction in cycle time and decreased energy costs, resulting in higher production efficiency.
PolyOne's portfolio of brand-protection technologies called Percept Authentication Technologies were also a focus of attention, which, bearing in mind recent developments at Aston Martin, was hardly surprising. Designed to offer protection against lost sales and market share due to counterfeiting or gray-goods products, as well as to reduce costs, protect brand equity, and protect consumer welfare-both by decreasing potential harm to consumers and reducing unwarranted recall expenses-this set of technologies was developed "to help our customers protect market share and reduce risk", said John Van Hulle, president of Global Color, Additives and Inks, at PolyOne, when the product was launched last September. As subsequent events have shown, in today's global market, where geographic expansion is a given, securing supply chain integrity is a must and every layer of security that technology can provide is welcome.