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Sheet molding compound route reduces vehicle weight with acceptable cycle time

Owens Corning (Toledo, OH) has debuted a multi-end roving designed for epoxy sheet molding compound (SMC) systems in automotive applications. In combination with such systems, ME1510 glass reinforcement reportedly enables improved mechanical properties. ME1510 is said to feature superior strength and flexural modulus, fast impregnation and excellent process characteristics in SMC, allowing up to 63 percent glass fiber content1.

Owens Corning (Toledo, OH) has debuted a multi-end roving designed for epoxy sheet molding compound (SMC) systems in automotive applications.

In combination with such systems, ME1510 glass reinforcement reportedly enables improved mechanical properties. ME1510 is said to feature superior strength and flexural modulus, fast impregnation and excellent process characteristics in SMC, allowing up to 63 percent glass fiber content1.

"Taking weight out of cars is required to enable meeting CO2 emission regulations and fuel economy standards. In combination with the epoxy resin system, the ME1510 solution provides the opportunity for significant part weight reduction compared to steel2" said Hans Van Der Steen, Owens Corning Business Development Leader for Structural Composites. "Furthermore, the SMC process technology provides the right balance between molding cycle times, design freedom (allowing for function integration), and high mechanical properties."

The automotive market is expected to grow to 100 million new vehicles per year by 2020. With increased regulatory constraints in Europe, North America, and Asia, matching CO2 emission regulations and fuel economy standards are key drivers for weight reduction initiatives. A 200-300 kg weight reduction will be required to meet the CO2 emission targets set for Europe in 2020, i.e., 95g CO2/km.

Along with engine and transmission improvements, the replacement of traditional materials with lightweight and durable composite materials reportedly represents one of the most significant opportunities for vehicle light weighting. Composites allow for enhanced function integration compared to metal and will lead to further weight reduction opportunities in the medium to long term, in structural applications such as floor systems, pillars, roof and door modules, bumper beams, and seat structures.

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