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LANXESS highlighting in-series applications of Tepex® thermoplastic composites at SPE ACCE 2017

  • Tepex composites ready for mass-production
  • Door module carrier for compact-class vehicles
  • Structural applications with "ultra-thin" wall thickness having significant weight savings over steel
  • Rear bumper beam, brake pedals, underbody panels and other in-series production components

Pittsburgh, PA – September 5, 2017– The use of Tepex continuous-fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite semi-finished products from LANXESS is increasing among automotive manufacturers looking to design lightweight parts in large series production.  This will be the focus of the LANXESS exhibition as well as a presentation given by Palanivel Swaminathan, LANXESS Corporation Business Development Manager for Lightweight Materials & Composite Laminates, at the Society of Plastics Engineers’ Automotive Composites Conference & Exposition (SPE ACCE) taking place September 6 – 8 in Novi, Michigan. 


Mass production automotive components gaining ground


Tepex has already established itself in various mass production applications in structural lightweight automotive design.  For example, it is used to produce front-end carriers, bumper beams, infotainment brackets, underfloor protection paneling, brake pedals, battery consoles, seat shells and seat backrests.  Swaminathan’s presentation on Wednesday, September 6 from 3:00 – 3:30 p.m. will examine several of these applications and their associated benefits.   


Lightweight door module carrier: cost-efficient, one-shot process


One of the newest applications of Tepex composites is a door module carrier prototype for a compact-class vehicle. The door module carrier is produced in a hybrid molding process using thermoforming and back-injection of Tepex directly in the injection mold. With ultra-thin wall thickness, the weight has been cut by around 1.6 kilograms per vehicle compared with injection-molded component designs. “The continuous fiber reinforcement nature of the material combined with high glass fiber content leads to less warpage of the finished component, compared to the current injection molded part,” Swaminathan explains.


Structural applications with “ultra-thin” wall thickness


LANXESS is also showcasing a module carrier for the Mercedes Benz S Class convertible that is just one millimeter thick. The part weighs 50 percent less than its aluminum predecessor. This part is also produced using the Tepex-based hybrid molding process. “The Tepex material covers most of the surface area on the part with fewer injection molded features and requires a lower tonnage press, making the component cost-effective to produce,” explains Swaminathan.


Safety components with Tepex


Even for vehicle safety components, considerable weight reduction without sacrificing performance can be achieved using Tepex semi-finished thermoplastic composites with PA6 matrix in combination with LANXESS’ Durethan PA6 high-tech plastic grade. The process integrates the shaping of a Tepex blank into the injection molding process in one-step. “These safety components are only about half the weight of a comparable metal structure, and meet the high load requirements,” says Swaminathan.


Series-tested lightweight construction using composite semi-finished products


Another highlight at the LANXESS ACCE booth, will be  a lightweight, nearly indestructible underbody protection panel. This is already available as custom parts for production vehicles such as the Bentley Bentayga, which uses the same vehicle platform as the Audi Q7. The flat components consist of polypropylene-based low-weight-reinforced thermoplastics (LWRT) that are molded together with a 0.5-millimeter thick Tepex blank in a compression molding process. “The LWRT components have an outer layer of Tepex on the side facing the road, and this considerably boosts their strength, stiffness and above all toughness,” explains Swaminathan.


Expertise in simulation capabilities to support component development


LANXESS High Performance Materials provides expertise for all stages of advanced component development, from the development of tailored material solutions, to concept development, computer-aided engineering simulation methods, state-of-the-art part testing facilities, and processing. “With our know-how in materials and corresponding technical services, LANXESS is positioned as a development partner to the automotive industry, and we are proud to have made key contributions  to various  successful structural automotive applications,” says Jose Chirino, Technical Director, Americas region for LANXESS High Performance Materials.


Wide range of applications


Tepex composite sheets are continuous-fiber-reinforced sheets in a thermoplastic polymer matrix.  This family of materials is reinforced with a fabric or continuous fiber made of glass, carbon, or a combination of glass and carbon, and sold as semi-finished sheets.  The advantages of Tepex composite sheets are high stiffness and outstanding strength despite very low weight.  It is far stronger than steel, aluminum and magnesium, for example.  Additional applications for Tepex include consumer electronics and sports applications, like tablet shells and bicycle helmets.


The LANXESS High Performance Materials (HPM) business unit is one of the leading global producers of the engineering plastics polyamide (Durethan®) and polybutylene terephthalate (Pocan®), and of thermoplastic fiber composites.  It is part of the LANXESS Engineering Materials segment, which generated sales of EUR 1.1 billion in 2016.    


LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 7.7 billion in 2016 and about 19,200 employees in 25 countries. The company is currently represented at 75 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of chemical intermediates, additives, specialty chemicals and plastics. Through ARLANXEO, the joint venture with Saudi Aramco, LANXESS is also a leading supplier of synthetic rubber. LANXESS is listed in the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World) and FTSE4Good.


Forward-Looking Statements
This company release contains certain forward-looking statements, including assumptions, opinions, expectations and views of the company or cited from third party sources. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause the actual results, financial position, development or performance of LANXESS AG to differ materially from the estimations expressed or implied herein. LANXESS AG does not guarantee that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors nor does it accept any responsibility for the future accuracy of the opinions expressed in this presentation or the actual occurrence of the forecast developments. No representation or warranty (expressed or implied) is made as to, and no reliance should be placed on, any information, estimates, targets and opinions, contained herein, and no liability whatsoever is accepted as to any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein, and accordingly, no representative of LANXESS AG or any of its affiliated companies or any of such person's officers, directors or employees accept any liability whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from the use of this document.