8 New Plastics for Cars, Trains & Medical Devices

This crop of new plastics is mostly aimed at different parts of a car.
  • DSM, Fortii Ace

    Royal DSM wants to substitute die-cast metals and expensive high-performance engineering thermoplastics like PEEK in automotive applications with its new ForTii Ace polyphthalamide (PPA). This material has outstanding mechanical, thermal, and chemical properties. Its glass transition temperature is 160C, much higher than that of other PPAs, including other ForTii grades, and also at least 80C higher than PA66. It is also the only PPA with an aromatic content over 50% by weight. The new material targets powertrain, transmission, chassis, and thermal management applications, as well as industrial applications. The product family will include grades with various types of fillers and reinforcements, including glass and carbon fibers at addition rates of up to 50%. (Source: DSM)

  • PoyOne, OnFlex LO TPEs

    Designed to improve driver and passenger safety and comfort, PolyOne's new OnFlex LO thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) reduces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 50%, plus it minimizes fogging and odor in interior automotive components. The company tested OnFlex LO TPE against existing TPEs according to VDA 278 and VDA 270 standards. OnFlex LO TPE cut VOC emissions by approximately 5% and fog emissions by 40%, while maintaining outstanding low odor performance. This TPE can be used in a wide range of components, including heating/ventilation/air conditioning seals, buttons, and controls. It can be overmolded onto polyolefin substrates using two-shot injection molding processes. (Source: PolyOne/ThinkStockPhotos.com)

  • igus, iglide RW370

    iglide's new RW370 self-lubricating bearing material complies with EN 45545, the recent European fire protection standard for railway vehicles. In addition to meeting these new industry standards, the material is also extremely resistant to wear, chemicals, and other media. igus tested bearings made from RW370 extensively at its lab in Germany, and found they are well-suited for door guides and hinges, as well as in rotating joints and adjustment mechanisms for seats and tables. (Source: igus)

  • Minnesota Rubber & Plastics, Qmonix 558CH, FKM 51 SCG, NBR 536EG

    Minnesota Rubber and Plastics has a new portfolio of 70 shore A compounds for medical and pharma applications. They comply with existing and proposed regulations for elastomeric products, such as the European Commission framework regulation EC 1935/2004, US FDA Title 21 CFR and NSF Standard 61 and 51. Other certifications are in process. Qmonix 558CH is a high-purity, high-performance ethylene propylene diene monomer with excellent performance in both hot and cold process applications, excellent chemical resistance, and resistance to the ozone and UV used in sanitization processes. FKM 51 SCG is a highly fluorinated, carbon backbone polymer that resists harsh chemical and ozone attack with thermal stability to 500F (262C). It also offers low compression set and excellent aging characteristics, and provides excellent service in concentrated alcohols, acids, and process chemicals. NBR 536EG withstands environments that require low compression set, abrasion resistance, and low temperature performance. Typical applications for all three include seals, catheters, valves, connections, disposables, prosthetics, lab equipment, syringe plugs, and diaphragms. (Source: Minnesota Rubber & Plastics)

  • A new grade of BASF's Ultradur polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) combines very good impact strength with high flowability, aimed at helping engineers with the trend toward miniaturization in automotive electronic components. In applications such as wire harnesses, connectors made of Ultradur grade B4340ZG2 High Speed (HSP) will better resist damage such as breaks and cracks. The material also has optimized product properties for thin-walled plug-in connectors, and boasts excellent electrical properties. Its CTI (Comparative Tracking Index) track resistance per IEC 60112 is 600V, permitting minimum distances between the conductor tracks in plug-in connectors. (Source: BASF)

  • DuPont, Zytel, Daimler NAG3, oil pan

    DuPont's Zytel isn't a new material, but it's being used in a tough, demanding application: a new production-ready oil pan in Daimler's new NAG3 nine-speed automatic transmission. IBS Filtran, a leading supplier of oil filter systems for automotive transmissions, selected the high-grade glass-fiber-reinforced material to replace metal to optimize production and processing. The NAG3 (new automatic transmission) uses the Zytel 70G35 HSLRA4 thermoplastic polymer for the multifunctional lower shell. This grade of Zytel combines low warpage, easy processing, and laser weldability. It has an excellent balance of stiffness and toughness over a wide temperature range, and, in combination with a special rib design, it withstands stone impacts of up to 200 km/h. Replacing metal with Zytel reduces costs by saving 1.3kg in weight, and provides design freedom, without compromising performance. (Source: DuPont)

  • Teknor Apex, Sarlink ML-2355B, TPE-S

    A new styrene block copolymer thermoplastic elastomer (TPE-S) from Teknor Apex exhibits improved injection moldability compared to other elastomers. Developed for automotive interior parts such as cable ducts and grommets, Sarlink ML-2355B compound also provides competitive physical properties and meets stringent OEM requirements. For example, it's been approved by VAG for use in complex cable ducts. Compared to other elastomers used for this application, Sarlink ML-2355B exhibits reduced viscosity for improved moldability, a wider processing window, and greater weld-line strength to facilitate air-assist demolding. Unlike standard TPE-S compounds, it doesn't exhibit stress marks caused by deformation during mold release, and it avoids the demolding difficulties posed by thermoplastic vulcanizates in parts with severe undercuts. Sarlink ML-2355B TPE-S is a black 55 Shore A compound; other hardnesses are available. (Source: Teknor Apex)

  • Lehvoss, Luvocom EOG

    LEHVOSS North America has introduced LUVOCOM EOG, a new generation of PEEK compounds formulated to meet the oil & gas industry's need for higher performance and lower risk in material selection. The new compounds offer unlimited life expectancy at 464F (240C) in downhole environmental conditions per NORSOK M-710 Standard. Compared to traditional PEEK compounds used in such applications, LUVOCOM EOG materials offer easier processing, up to 50% less annealing time, reduced wear, and up to 150% better shrinkage ratio. They also display high creep resistance. Applications include back-up rings, such as those shown here, as well as bearings, bushings, thrust washers and gears, seals, packers, plugs, and compressor components. Each grade focuses on specific applications and is a formulation platform for future customization. (Source: Lehvoss)

This crop of new plastics is mostly aimed at different parts of a car. The range is very wide: from powertrain, transmission, chassis, and thermal management applications, to interior automotive components, to connectors for wire harnesses and electronic components. There are also new materials for railcars, medical devices, and oil & gas components.

Most of these new materials are tougher than before for harsh environments, whether that means chemical resistance, temperature resistance, or mechanical properties like impact strength. Often, it means all three. Several have also been formulated for easier processing, especially in injection molding processes.

Ann R. Thryft is senior technology editor, materials & assembly, for Design News. She's been writing about manufacturing- and electronics-related technologies for 29 years, covering manufacturing materials & processes, alternative energy, and robotics. In the past, she's also written about machine vision and all kinds of communications.

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