Hybrid handles assembly chores
Bayer Corp. plastic-metal hybrid (PMH) technology, which creates load-bearing structures by injection molding a network of polyamide ribs into one or more metal stampings, has been around for nearly a decade. "It lets you put metal where you need it for structural reasons, while taking advantage of the design freedom and aesthetics of plastics," says Mark Witman, engineering manager for Bayer's Plastics Div. Now, the patented hybrid technology is poised to pick up steam, thanks to its capabilities as an assembly method.
Over the past two years, PMH has already found a place in automotive applications, including front-end-modules for Audi and grill opening reinforcements for Ford. Witman says automotive front-end applications have resulted in 20 to 40% reductions in cost—mostly by increasing function integration and by doing away with welding and secondary assembly operations. He adds that the hybrid technology has also cut weight by 20 to 50% compared to traditional metal front-end structures.
Less well known is PMH's potential for in-mold assembly and metal parts. Olaf Zoellner, manager of Bayer's Innovative Technologies Group, explains that the Audi front end is based on three different metal stampings which are joined in the tool during the injection molding process. "The metal pieces are connected by the plastic," he says. Bayer engineers have developed with several styles of moldable locking features for joining metal components—steel in Audi's case but potentially aluminum or magnesium in other applications. These locking features form during the molding cycle as the plastic melt flows into holes in adjacent stamping. Or, when added strength is required, the stampings can overlap. To support the in-mold-assembly process, Bayer last month launched an application-development mold capable of producing different styles of locking features.
PMH may soon make its way into the home and office too. Witman reports development projects for appliance frames with built-in shelving or mounting features for motors, ice machines, or other heavy components. And Zoellner notes that a variety of business equipment applications can likewise take advantage of the ability to combine structural requirements with the integration of mounting features. Bayer Corp. , Enter 576
The E-25-26-50SM acoustical foam-barrier-foam composite, part of the company's line of TUFCOTE® composites, is intended to block and absorb sound at frequencies above 500 Hz. The composite consists of ¼-inch decoupling foam, a 1.6 pcf flexible noise barrier, and ½-inch sound-absorbing foam. Applications include engine compartments of generators, diesel-driven vehicles, and metal-encased power-generation equipment.
E-A-R Specialty Composites, www.earsc.com. Enter 577
Alcryn® Melt-Processable Rubber™, available in heavy-gauge extruded sheet form, is designed to offer chemical resistance and weatherability for industrial and consumer applications. Available as 100% recyclable, it replaces vulcanized rubber and thermoplastic elastomers. The material may also be made flame-retardant.
Advanced Polymer Alloys, www.APAinfo.com. Enter 578
TRA-BOND 221U01 is a highly filled, medium viscosity, electrically insulating epoxy encapsulant, intended for micro-electronic chips. According to the company, stress effects from shock tests on wiring and components are reduced with the product's low coefficient of thermal expansion. The one component encapsulant is available pre-mixed or frozen.
Tra-Con Inc., www.tra-con.com. Enter 579
Viewall material features wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling coverage and seamless writing surfaces for visual communication applications. The material is available in lenticular surfaces, complete with a 40,000 units/in2 projection screen with a dry erase surface, and low gloss covering. The two backing options include wallpaper and peel-off adhesive that bonds the material directly to the surface.
MagnaPlan, www.visualplanning.com. Enter 580
The DC-207 Uni-form™ epoxy preforms are designed to withstand industrial solvent exposure, Freon/oil mix environments, and up to 325C temperatures. The preforms consist of solid, one-part epoxy resins; when heated, epoxies produce a seal dispensing at 200-600 parts per minute. Applications include sealing components in refrigerators, air conditioners, and automotive cooling systems.
Multi-Seals Inc., www.multi-seals.com. Enter 581
The direct feed thermoplastic process is an in-line compounding and molding process made for continuous production of long fiber thermoplastic composites. The process mixes fiber/resin melt, reportedly reducing reinforcing fiber damage, and preserving much of the original fiber length in the compounded thermoplastic composite. Molded parts are produced in 45-70 second cycle times.
Composite Products Inc., www.compositeproducts.com. Enter 582
PEEK encapsulated frits are offered in 316L stainless steel, Hastelloy C-276, and titanium, featuring a chemical- and corrosion-resistant thermoplastic outer sealing ring. According to the company, media retention and uniform sample flow are achieved with the company's standard pore sizes and permeability. Used in HPLC columns, the frits are available in standard media grades of 0.5 µm, 1 µm, or 2 µm.
Mott Corp., www.mottcorp.com. Enter 583