Ford is introducing the industry's first structural-foam painted thermoplastic elastomer (TPO) component using a patented injection molding process called SPT.
"It's a total game changer," says Harry Lobo, a product development engineer at Ford. A unique endothermic foaming agent coupled with a proprietary primer yields a 30% weight reduction and a 65% cost reduction.
In the process developed by ABC Group (Toronto), the foaming agent does not release until the mold is completely filled. Use of counter pressure replaces traditional injection molding. Polymer pellets are pre-coated with primer to assure consistent dispersion of foam concentrate. Parts are reduced from three to one....