Innovative Methods to Reduce Weight in the Production of Molded Polyurethane Parts 980723
The proportion of non-metallic parts in automobile production continues to increase. Forecasts call for this percentage, on a weight basis including glass, rubber and plastics, to grow from 32% in 1997 to about 38% in 2005. One reason for this growth is the excellent durability, corrosion resistance, and design freedom that can be obtained with plastics parts, including, of course, polyurethanes. Superior economics have also been a major factor.
Despite this impressive success, however, the automotive industry demands continuous improvement from its polyurethane part suppliers. A major focal point has always been in the area of weight reduction. Reduction in the weight of molded parts yields a double benefit to the automotive manufacturer. First, the cost of the parts can be somewhat reduced, by raw material savings. Second, the reduced weight of the finished part allows the automobile manufacturer to achieve higher fuel efficiency. This helps the environment, as well as making the manufacturer's car more attractive to his customers.
This paper presents several of the newest Hennecke innovations in machinery and processing technologies that make possible the reduction of weight in molded parts. New, proven technologies such as FipurTec and NafpurTec, for rigid (e.g., structural) polyurethane parts, as well as NovaForm and VakuForm, for flexible molded foam, will be described in this paper.
Each of these technologies offers the part supplier savings in both cost and weight. These savings will help secure the future for existing polyurethane applications, and will also allow polyurethane to be applied in exciting new ways.