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22 août 2014

Stiff foam boards with great lightweight potential for automobile industry

Lucerne/Switzerland, August 2014. Sekisui Alveo further expands its product range: With Alveocel LP F, the manufacturer of polyolefin foams now also offers stiff foam boards, which will be used mainly in the automotive branch. This version of the closed-cell PP foam is produced at a density of 200 to 600 kilogrammes per cubic metre.

The stiff foam boards, from one to five millimetres thick, are 50 to 70 percent lighter than e.g. injection-moulded solid plastics used in comparable applications. Thus, the stiff foam is interesting as a lightweight solution for various industries. For instance, large-surface-area components such as coverings made of hard plastic can be replaced. Great potential also exists for sandwich components, in which the rigid foam can be used as an outer layer in composite assemblies.

Expanded range with great application potential
The new Alveocel LP F stiff boards expand the product portfolio of Sekisui Alveo: Until now, the foams have been used mostly for acoustical and thermal insulation, for enhancing comfort – key phrase: “pleasant surface feel” – or for effective sealing and cushioning. Besides wheel well liners, engine compartment liners and instrument panels, additional potential has now been opened for new application areas in the automotive industry. “We are currently working closely together with our customers to develop new applications”, explains Sandro Glanzmann, Application Development Manager at Sekisui Alveo.

Applications in the automotive industry

For passenger cars as well as trucks, Sekisui Alveo sees potential for replacing numerous hard plastic surface coverings with the stable foam boards, which are up to 70 percent lighter. This applies for example to wheel well liners, which shield the vehicle body from highway stone. Here, the robust, bending-resistant foam also wonderfully expands Sekisui Alveo’s current solutions for acoustical insulation. The same applies for engine compartment liners, which are subject to special heat resistance requirements. Also for surface coverings in vehicle interiors, e.g. in the trunk, use with an appropriate fabric or foil covering is possible. Sandro Glanzmann is especially enthusiastic about the possibility of using the material as a one-to-one replacement for solid PE and PP materials used to make deep-drawn or press moulded parts. Here, the material can fully show its strengths of weight reduction and high stiffness.

Sought-after material properties and processing possibilities.

Alveocel LP F stiff foam boards offer more than relatively light weight and very high stiffness. They are also heat resistant up to 140 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, the hundred-percent recyclable material offers good thermal insulation. The foam boards made by Sekisui Alveo can be press moulded and vacuum formed, and the material serves well as a substrate for laminated coverings. When the material is machined, clean edges result, allowing conversion with precision.

“Our new product Alveocel LP F offers great potential for many applications in a wide variety of industries”, says Sandro Glanzmann. “Here we are not limited to individual areas – so we look forward to developing bespoke solutions in collaboration with our customers.” Sekisui Alveo produces the boards in the standard formats of 1200 x 1000 mm and 1200 x 2200 mm and can provide other sizes or rolls upon request.

  Source : Sekisui Alveo

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