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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1305

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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1305

Applications PA 410 for

Applications PA 410 for VW Royal DSM, headquartered in Heerlen, The Netherlands, together with its automotive component specialist partner KACO, has taken an important step in improving fuel efficiency in cars. The two companies have developed a lightweight multi-functional crankshaft cover in EcoPaXX ® , DSM’s bio-based polyamide 410, for the latest generation of diesel engines developed by the Volkswagen Group. This glass fibre reinforced EcoPaXX cover incorporates integral seals in PTFE and liquid silicone rubber (LSR), as well as various metal inserts. It will be used on Volkswagen’s new MDB modular diesel engine platform, implemented across its Audi, Seat, Škoda and VW brands. Volkswagen, along with all major automobile producers, is in a constant search for new ways to increase the sustainability of its products, and the new bio-based crankshaft cover is an excellent example of solutions that it is implementing. Compared with covers made in aluminum, system costs for the EcoPaXX cover are considerably lower, thanks in part to the use of an integrated, fully automated production cell for the component at KACO. Weight has been reduced considerably too, since the EcoPaXX grade is 45% less dense than aluminum. The development represents a significant step forward in terms of sustainability, from material production to the vehicle on the road. DSM’s EcoPaXX polyamide 410 is 70% derived from renewable resources, and the polymer is certified 100% carbon neutral from cradle to gate. In component production, KACO uses the highly energy-efficient production cell to not only mold the crankshaft cover, but also integrate two separate seals: the first, in PTFE, is placed into the mold by a robot, and EcoPaXX is over-molded onto it; the second, in LSR, is then molded directly into the part using a 2K process. This results in reduced energy consumption during production, as well as zero material waste. Finally, because the finished cover weighs so much less than an aluminium version, it makes the vehicle run more efficiently, saving fuel and reducing carbon dioxide emissions throughout its lifetime. Thermoplastic crankshaft covers are still uncommon, with polyamide 6 or 66 being the favoured material. The very tight dimensional specification of the VW version, as well as the high loads it has to withstand, made the challenge of producing it in thermoplastic particularly severe. DSM and KACO met the challenge, thanks to the overall exceptional performance of EcoPaXX—its very good mechanical properties at elevated temperatures, in combination with excellent toughness, DSM and KACO save weight and costs with crankshaft cover made in EcoPaXX polyamide 410 for next-generation Volkswagen engines. (Photo: DSM Engineering Plastics) make it an ideal material for the required high performance under extreme use—and KACO’s skills in integrating static and dynamic seals into the part in a highly intelligent way. Andreas Genesius, head of project management at KACO, emphasizes the importance of the waste-free production process. “The part comes out of the injection molding cell ready to be assembled onto the engine block,” he says. “No trimming is necessary at all. By taking a holistic approach to automotive part design and production, we are contributing to sustainable technological progress without any compromise on part performance or competitiveness.” Genesius adds that a key to the successful launch of the crankshaft cover after an extremely short development period was the strategic joint development with key partners, including DSM, in the areas of part design, material development, process design and bonding of the different materials. The crankshaft cover is a masterpiece of engineering design. Fiber orientation, the number and position of gating points, and the design and integration of the various inserts have all been optimized to minimize warpage and ensure tight seals between the cover and the engine block and oil sump. The cover also has to resist tightening of bolts fixing it to the engine block and the sump (each of which is built to different tolerances), as well as from tools used to fix the position of the FEAD (Front End Accessory Drive) belt. With its excellent mechanical properties, DSM’s EcoPaXX provided the answer to these requirements. MT www.ecopaxx.com 48 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/13] Vol. 8

Applications Flax fibre cycle helmet New developments by Dragonkraft (Eccles, Manchester, UK) in the bio-resin arena and flax by products have enabled designer James Dart to develop a functional Duo Lin cycle helmet incorporating a dense bio-resin foam core interior and tough knitted flax woven outer resin shell. Flax fibres are amongst the oldest fibre crops in the world dating back as far as Egyptian times. James, a recent 3D Design BA (Hons) graduate has been exploring new biopolymers and flax as part of his studies at Brighton University (UK)as part of the BRIDGE* research project. As a keen cyclist, James sought a sustainable approach to the manufacture of cycle helmets which are typically made from petrochemical plastics often with a finite lifespan. Through thoughtful consideration of resources and the environment the Duo Lin project came to life with the aim of conceiving a product with the use of one renewable resource - flax - for virtually all of its parts. James comments “I had a desire to create a practical product that could demonstrate the incredibly versatile nature of flax and its inherent high strength properties. I needed a bonding resin to help me construct the helmet and came across the Dragonkraft bio-resin system; an ecofriendly two part system consisting of a liquid resin and a hardener. Unlike epoxy resins, the Dragonkraft resin didn’t carry the strong hazardous odours often associated with traditional resins. It is derived from natural flaxseed oils and is safer to handle”. James continues “The bio-resin is extremely flexible and water resistant; by moulding it with woven flax reinforcement and setting it under UV light, the final product is a rugged, lightweight, sustainable bio-composite outer shell”. Although a very durable shell, the outer structure would not be fit for purpose as a cycle helmet without a cushioning interior foam core. James quickly realised through experimentation that the bio-resin would foam and expand when heat and water were added. When it was left to set in a mould under UV, it gave surprisingly good results as a composite interior. A further mould has now been created so the interior foam and exterior shell can be formed together in a single step. James adds “The finished concept is manufactured using 98% carbon renewable content. Even the helmet straps are made from needle punched flax. The helmet is comfortable but work still needs to be undertaken on the overall mass of the helmet. I now have an early design concept that could now be subjected to tests. I intend on developing my work in this area through further research and am looking forward to taking my concept to the next level”. www.jamesdart.com. www.dragonkraft.com * The Building Research and Innovation Deals for the Green Economy (BRIDGE) is a new European Union INTERREG IV funded research project led by principal investigator, Dr Joan Farrer whose expertise is in Design and Materials. http://bit.ly/1599Q8v From left to right: 1. New developments in bio-resins inspire ‘Duo Lin’ flax fibre cycle helmet; 2. Duo Lin cycle helmet incorporating a tough knitted flax woven outer resin shell (left) and dense bio-resin foam core interior (right); 3. James Dart testing his concept to the max bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/13] Vol. 8 49

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