Case Study Temperature and chemical resistance combined with surface quality
Riding a motorbike isn't considered an extreme sport, rather a leisure activity popular among people of all ages. However, motorbike luggage has to withstand extreme conditions while still being light, easy to handle and nice to look at. These requirements present challenges to the material used to build the luggage systems.
When the warm spring sun drives away the winter frost, it also arouses the wanderlust of motorcycle fans. Finally set off again, smell the asphalt and conquer the world! Take the machines out to get them ready to go and get started planning short trips or long distance tours. But no trip without luggage. What is the best way to store it? Which luggage systems can give the noble design of the bikes another kick, and which are light, robust, safe and easy to handle?
These are the questions the experts at Hepco & Becker, have in mind. The company is a manufacturer of high-quality luggage systems for motorcycles and is based in Pirmasens, Germany. The family business, which also specialises in tool cases, has put its accumulated know-how and many years of experience into a new side bag called the Xceed. The top loader was developed in cooperation with Egon Engineering Goes On, a technology consulting company from Memmingen, and its design is based on high-quality anodised aluminium and the impact-resistant Makroblend UT6007 plastic from Covestro.
“With this combination of materials we make use of contemporary lines and shapes that lend the case elegance and value. At the same time, it is light and handy and can take a lot of punishment in everyday life without its appearance getting immediately damaged,” explains Nils Arnold, specialist in design and development at Hepco & Becker.
Resistance to motorcycle fluids
The plastic is used for the base of the case, which weighs only 4.5 kilograms, the housings of the lid and case lock as well as the edges of the lid and the case body. In addition, the handles of the lid, which can be opened and removed from both sides, as well as accessories such as canister and drinking bottle holders are made of the polycarbonate and polybutylene terephthalate (PC+PBT) blend.
“Our material has proven itself in many ways. For example, it is extremely low-temperature impact resistant so it hardly breaks and splinters even at low temperatures, which benefits safety,” explains Thomas Vaillant, a plastics expert at Covestro. It is also particularly resistant to typical motorcycle fluids such as oils, greases and fuels as well as cleaning and maintenance products. In addition, matte, finely grained surfaces can be injection molded without any defects and they complement the aluminum look very well.
Good flowability and dimensional stability are another advantage of the elastomer-modified thermoplastic. They ensure that the partly filigree geometries are precisely reproduced, for example in the area of the locks, and that the complete case – it has a capacity of 38 liters – fits precisely into its support and the installation environment.
The different variants of the Makroblend UT series are also in demand in other motorcycle applications. For example, they are used to produce weatherproof and impact-resistant battery housings for electric motorcycles.
Xceed will appear on the market in mid-2018 and was already presented at the EICMA, Europe's largest motorcycle fair, in Milan November 2017. Detailed information about the side bag can be found at www.hepco-shop.de.