Leverkusen – The focus of LANXESS’ presentation at Fakuma 2012 is on intelligent lightweight construction solutions for automobile manufacturing. “Given the sharply rising number of vehicles on the road worldwide, the goal of our weight-saving material and technology innovations is to play a key role in achieving ‘green mobility’ to protect our environment, climate and resources,” explains Dr. Martin Wanders, head of Global Applications Development in the High Performance Materials (HPM) business unit.
Super-tough polyamide 6 for natural gas car tanks
One highlight of LANXESS’ presentation is a natural gas car tank with an inliner made of a new polyamide 6 that remains exceptionally tough even in extremely cold conditions. “Our material can be used to produce far lighter high-pressure tanks. They weigh four times less than a tank made entirely of steel,” says Wanders.
Lightweight polyamide oil pans
Lightweight construction materials are in demand under the hood, too, and LANXESS’ presentation includes a new polyamide 66 oil pan for cars with gasoline turbo engines. It weighs around one kilogram less than the corresponding steel component and 50 percent less than an equivalent aluminum design. LANXESS will also be showcasing the opportunities that can be harnessed by making oil pans using the highly reinforced polyamide 6 Durethan DP BKV 60 H2.0 EF with 60 percent glass fibers by weight. A transmission oil pan for the Audi R8 will be on show. “Thanks to its exceptional stiffness, our high-tech material enables oil pans to have a very flat and thus lightweight structure,” explains Wanders.
Lighter thanks to composite hybrid technology
Many of the LANXESS exhibits are examples of plastic/metal composite technology, known as hybrid technology, and the next stage in this development – hybrid technology based on nylon composite sheets reinforced with continuous fibers. In addition to various demonstration models, LANXESS will also be exhibiting prototype components that underline the potential of composite hybrid technology in lightweight construction applications. “We are exhibiting the world’s first polyamide car brake pedal reinforced with continuous glass fibers and designed for series production.
It is only about half the weight of comparable conventional sheet steel designs,” says Wanders. Another “lightweight” is the housing for a passenger airbag module, which is over 30 percent lighter than an injection-molded polyamide 6 series design. “We have now produced a new material model for composite sheets based on polyamide and can simulate the forming process with high precision. Integrative simulation enables us to factor in the appropriate loads when designing fiber-reinforced composite hybrid components made of polyamide on the computer for series applications,” says Wanders
Acquisition of Bond-Laminates
LANXESS sees huge growth potential for continuous-fiber-reinforced composite sheets and the associated hybrid technology in lightweight automotive construction applications. The specialty chemicals company has therefore recently acquired Bond-Laminates GmbH. Based in Brilon in the Westphalia region of Germany, Bond-Laminates specializes in the development and manufacture of customized composite materials made of reinforced plastics. This composite technology is marketed under the brand name TEPEX. “Our aim in acquiring Bond-Laminates is to strengthen our position as one of the leading suppliers of lightweight construction technologies for ‘green mobility’,” explains Wanders.
“Green Mobility” as a growth driver
Business with products and technologies for “green mobility” is becoming increasingly important to LANXESS. In 2011, it generated sales of around EUR 1.5 billion, which is equivalent to around 17 percent of total sales. In the first half of this year, sales of these products were around 20 percent up on the same period of the previous year at EUR 878 million. And in 2015, the company plans to increase them to approximately EUR 2.7 billion. This year, “green mobility” is a core strategic issue at LANXESS. For more information, go to www.green-mobility.com.