Expanded Polyolefin Bead Foam Property and Processing Innovations for Automotive Interior Applications 2007-01-0578
The demand for improved material properties and performance, as well as the demand for weight and cost reduction has presented challenges for the automotive industry as a whole. From the plastic and polymer materials side, the challenge has been incorporating newer polyolefin material technology into existing applications, all while reducing cost and improving performance.
This paper will explore novel approaches to meeting the industry need of both cost and weight reduction for plastic interior components, all while meeting the stringent performance and environmental needs of each OEM.
Recent advancements in the field of polyolefin resins have enabled new classes of thermoplastic bead foam products to be created which provide enhanced physical properties. These new materials are capable of improved performance due to the advancements that have been made to their base polymers. With the advent of this new technology, Expanded Polyolefin Bead Foams are now being used in newer and more challenging applications ranging from not only energy management and energy absorption, but comfort, structural components, acoustic, storage, and support applications.
Along with the advancements in material technology, advances have been made in the way Expanded Polyolefin Bead Foams are being processed. Advancement in the processing of these materials has led to improvements in the areas of; insert molding, multiple density parts, fastener integration, and lamination. All of these newer processing techniques will be discussed in the paper.