Materials for interior components must therefore comply with a continually rising set of demands (optical, tactile, scratch resistance and weight), while these demands confront the OEM with extremely high cost pressure. There is therefore a high degree of interest in high-grade materials that can be processed in cost-effective production processes.
Components (injection-moulded carrier, skin, foam or foamed film) are presently mainly produced to form a composite part in a multi-stage process. As this is very cost-intensive, various single-stage injection moulding solutions have been developed in recent years for smaller components or for components in low series. The disadvantages here are restrictions in material choice and the properties of TPE material during its use. This has resulted in a demand to develop low-cost TPE materials that can be adhered to existing carrier materials.
PTS Plastic-Technologie-Service based in Adelshofen in Southern Germany, has now managed to develop patented elastomer blends that can be processed as hard/soft combinations or foamed hard/soft combinations, via a foamed injection moulding process adapted to the MuCell microcellular foam process, and/or by use of chemical foaming agents.
By producing a foamed two-component part in the foamed injection moulding process, costs and part weight can be significantly reduced, compared with conventional solutions (separate production of skin, foam, carrier and subsequently combining these together).
The PTS-Uniflex-S group of materials enables a soft-touch surface to be tailor-made in terms of tactile response, scratch resistance and UV resistance, in combination with optimal adhesion to PP, PC/ABS, PA/ASA, and PA.
A material combination consisting of PTS-Uniflex-S and a PP/GF carrier can be recycled into new material that can in turn be used 100 % for automotive applications. These TPE materials from PTS are available in various Shore A hardness levels and in commonly used interior colours, while also fulfilling automotive industry requirements for interior components.
Possible applications such as trim for A, B and C columns, door trim, handles, centre consoles, etc are being discussed with OEMs and their Tier 1 suppliers and the first such parts have already reached the development stage.PTS at Fakuma Hall B2, stand 2114