Lightweight Material Special material reduces weight of roof frames and improves production processes

Editor: MA Alexander Stark

Car customers include panoramic roofs at the top of the list of extras when buying a new car. This trend coexists with the need to reduce the weight of all automotive components to minimize CO2 emissions. With the development of new Engineering Plastic parts for its interior applications, BASF and Grupo Antolin are complying with these challenges.

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Design of the roof frames allows weight reduction while improving production processes.
Design of the roof frames allows weight reduction while improving production processes.
(Source: BASF)

The newly developed panorama roof from BASF and Grupo Antolin is integrated into the ceiling trim (called the headliner) of the car which is made from the very light Polyurethane Elastoflex E 3943/134. The actual sunroof opening in the headliner is supported by a structural bracket. Traditionally this is made of heavy steel. With Ultradur High Speed a metal replacement solution is now used. Besides a high dimensional stability, the Engineering Plastic convinces with improved mechanical properties.

In close cooperation, both companies have validated the Polybutylenterephthalate (PBT) Ultradur High Speed in plastic frames for open panorama headliners. The novel and newly design of these parts allow a weight reduction up to 60 percent compared to other solutions. This special material allows the injection of large parts with unique performance such as dimensional stability, low warpage at short cycle times, high stiffness, high temperature resistance and an good flowability.

Following the predevelopment with a German customer, the first pilot project was launched for a best-seller vehicle with outstanding results. More opportunities with this solution have been identified for several OEMs at global scale.

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