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Unique Borealis Solution Achieves Market First for VW “Under-the-Bonnet” Component

Borealis’ unique glass fibre reinforced polypropylene (PP) compound XMOD GB306SAF is helping Volkswagen (VW) and parts manufacturer MAHLE Filter Systems UK

improve production cost-efficiency and achieve both performance and environment-friendly benefits for the Air Intake Manifolds
(AIMs) used on a wide variety of VW car models. Their choice of highperformance XMOD GB306SAF from Borealis, a leading provider of chemical and innovative plastics solutions, makes VW the first automotive
OEM to switch from glass reinforced Polyamides to PP for this high tech under-the-bonnet application.

“Plastic air intake manifolds are used in the majority of vehicles produced worldwide today because of the optimised air flow, design freedom and general reductions in weight and cost they offer over their metal
counterparts,” comments Dennis Nicholls, project manager MAHLE UK. “However, rising under-the-hood temperatures, demands for improved function integration capability, noise reduction and ever-lighter components, plus the need to reduce our own and our customers’ overall system costs, means we have had to look beyond Polyamides to meet these challenges.”

Borealis worked in close co-operation with MAHLE Filter Systems, providing material development and computer aided design and testing support, to ensure XMOD GB306SAF was the optimum solution for producing AIMs that would satisfy VW’s specific requirements. These are lower system costs without significant change in tool and part design, better acoustic behaviour and use of an environment-friendly material. To eliminate MAHLE’s need for equipment investment, same-speed production with existing injection
moulding processes and post-moulding techniques, such as direct screwing, was a key stipulation.

XMOD GB306SAF is a high stiffness 35% glass fibre reinforced PP compound that offers long-term high heat and chemical resistance, vibration resistance combined with high fatigue and a broad operating temperature
between -40°C and +120°C. Existing manufacturing equipment and processes for AIMs can be used. In addition, as a lighter-weight, lower density material it enables weight reductions for AIMs of up to 15%, while
offering exceptional sound damping that surpasses current acoustic behaviour for AIMs.

XMOD GB306SAF contributes to lowering overall production costs for AIM parts through its lower material price and its lightweight benefits of improved handling and reduced energy usage. Lower processing temperatures and the lack of pre-drying further reduce overall energy consumption and eliminate manufacturing steps, achieving more cost-effective production.

“Polypropylene is already the most widely used thermoplastic material in cars and under the bonnet”, adds Harald Hammer, Vice President Business Unit Mobility. “As proven with the Air Intake Manifold, this XMOD material leads the way in further diversifying automotive applications for PP, delivering the step change in cost-efficiency, weight reduction and environmental performance the industry requires.”


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