New Lanxess Lightweight Structural Component Production Method: Plastic-metal Hybrid Technology
Potential applications of hybrid molding technology - cross-beam structures
Germany's LANXESS Specialty Chemicals has developed a mature, light-weight structural component production method - a plastic-metal hybrid technology. This technology systematically combines the advantages of plastics and metals. Over the years, LANXESS has been using this technology to manufacture automotive components such as front-end, pedal box and brake pedals. This hybrid technology uses glass-reinforced nylon 6 (PA) for injection molding, while steel parts use aluminum or steel as raw material. This hybrid technology has now been extended by LANXESS to the manufacture of circular or rectangular metal hollow profiles. Lukas schrer, Lightweight Structure Project Manager for the High Performance Materials Business Unit (HPM) explained: “Compared with sheet metal, hollow profiles have higher dimensional stability and stronger torsional strength and stiffness, and we believe that This new "hollow profile mixing technology" enables the manufacture of components such as cross-beams, while the use of traditional plastic-metal mixing technology does not provide sufficient flexibility."
LANXESS is adopting a cost-effective and one-step process that faces many challenges. Boris Koch, a mixed-technology expert in technology application developers at the HPM business division, explained: “It needs to be able to smoothly and automatically Insert into injection molds, and the dimensional tolerances caused by these metal inserts can damage the tool during production. If an undersized insertion hole in the tool system occurs, this may be the result." In order to avoid cracking of the profile due to excessive melt pressure during injection molding, this process must allow the insertion of metal. Another challenge for this process is how to make a durable and properly shaped connection between plastic and metal. Koch also introduced: “We finally developed a process that is suitable for large-scale production. The process only requires investment in standard injection molds and machines. It can be produced just like standard injection molding, and the cycle time can be shortened. The entire production process will It's as simple as the classic mixing technology of metal plates."
In addition to crossing beams, this new hybrid technology has great potential for the production of other structural components with higher mechanical requirements. Schröer said: “As for light-duty auto parts, we consider the seat structure, front end, tailgate, and frames on the truck. But at the same time, we also saw the potential of this technology in the manufacture of furniture, ladders, and strollers. ."
LANXESS provides custom polyamide compounds for injection molding materials and for hollow molding mixing techniques. Koch explained: “This includes highly fluid material types for the production of complex-shaped rib structures. It also includes highly-fillable materials such as PA6. Their excellent mechanical properties will improve the structural performance of the hybrid components to a single one. High level."
LANXESS is currently working on applying hybrid technology to simpler and more competitive die casting or extrusion molding. “Even even hollow parts made of fiber-reinforced composite materials can use this new hybrid technology. This allows manufacturers to further reduce the weight of large-scale production of structural components.” Koch said.