The breakneck pace of change in the automotive industry shows no signs of slowing, putting unrelenting pressure on component manufacturers to stay ahead of competitors. Among the challenges: keeping up to date on the materials available for designing and producing interior trim components.
As with most supply chain decisions, this can be a bit of a balancing act. Performance capabilities, design flexibility, speed to market, affordability, supply reliability, environmental impact, and other factors all play a part. Polypropylene (PP) and thermoplastic polyolefins (TPOs) offer many unrivaled advantages in maximizing those trade-offs.
Here are some key characteristics to understand when selecting a PP materials supplier for automotive trim components:
Melt Flow Rate
Tight parts specifications make it important that materials flow readily into cavities when components are formed. Rheology, the branch of physics that deals with the deformation and flow of matter, especially the non-Newtonian flow of liquids and the plastic flow of solids, provides very useful standards. Look for polypropylene that offer a melt flow rate (MFR) of 25+ to ensure reliable quality production.
Parts that must carry a weight load need stiffness. Look for materials with a flex modulus capacity above 2,700 megapascals (MPa).
Ductile materials limit fragmentation under impact and also can be used for airbag deployment applications. A material’s ability to meet crashworthiness requirements is vital for protecting the vehicle occupant, meeting safety standards and OEM criteria. A good rule of thumb is reliable ductility down to -30 degrees Celsius.
Ease of Color
Components visible to end-users must match the appearance of other components, so the ability to quickly and affordably color material is important. There are no ready metrics for this characteristic, but it is important to understand that the cost of a material can go up several cents a pound depending on the color requirements.
Pick the Right Supplier
GEON offers decades of materials expertise along with an understanding of the latest innovations to help guide automotive component manufacturers in making these important decisions. Contact us to learn more or request a consultation with one of our auto SMEs.