All Olefinic Interiors-What Will It Take To Happen? 2000-01-0632
TPO is getting wider acceptance for automotive applications. An exterior application like a fascia is a very good example. Interiors are still a challenge due to many reasons including overall system cost. For interior applications, “all-olefin” means it mainly consists of three materials: TPO skin, cross-linked olefinic-based foam and PP substrate. The driving force for TPO in Europe is mainly recyclability while in the USA, it is long-term durability. This paper describes the key limitations of the current TPO systems which are: poor grain retention of TPO skin, shrinkage in-consistency of the skin, high cost of priming (or other treatments) and painting of the skin, lower process window of the semi-crystalline TPO material during thermoforming or In-mold lamination / Low pressure molding, high cost of the foam, low tear strength of the foam for deep draw ratio etc. The paper shows the different ways of manufacturing the all olefinic parts which are: thermoforming over PP substrate, different Low pressure molding with in-mold lamination techniques, expanded PP foam process, slush molding etc. The limitations for each process and suggestions to overcome the disadvantages will be discussed to make all olefinic TPO interior parts viable and cost effective. The possibility of reducing the overall system cost will also be discussed such as: general information on formulation development to reduce the skin thickness for thermoforming, how to improve the properties of foam to reduce the thickness without affecting the formability and resiliency, value added recyclability of the skin/foam offal from production, and improving the paint efficiency etc.