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Automaker Finds Savings, Appeal in New Colorant Plus Additive

Polymer vehicle interior delivers ‘wow’ factor, $500,000 in annual savings


The Challenge

When a leading global automaker redesigned a compact model for the Chinese market, the design team created classic lines and muscular contours. The challenge lay in bringing that aesthetic to the car’s interior, both effectively and affordably.

Compact cars need to keep a lower price point, yet the auto industry’s exacting safety standards for interior materials – and the OEM’s own commitment to quality for discerning customers – meant the design team would be challenged to find a suitable material for interior surfaces. 

Fabric offered the qualities designers wanted, but the raw material cost was too high and secondary manufacturing processes too costly for the car’s intended price point. On the other hand, the designers didn’t want the typical look of a typical plastic interior. 

The crosshatch look of fiber appealed to everyone, but the ideal material also needed to be able to endure the typical wear and tear a car’s interior takes over its lifetime. It had to provide temperature and impact resistance, along with UV resistance and anti-oxidation properties to prevent discoloration.

The Solution 

The OEM had several years of experience working with PolyOne Smartbatch™  – a combination of color and performance-enhancing additives in a single pellet. So the designers met with the PolyOne automotive team in China to see what more could be done with the additives.

After reviewing the requirements, the two teams worked to customize a color and additive concentrate using carbon fiber to produce the desired visual effect that would make the interior pillars and headliner look like they were covered in fabric. The necessary levels of temperature, impact, UV and oxidation resistance were achieved through stabilizing additives. 

The new material was provided as a masterbatch for just-in-time delivery to a subcontractor in China. Testing was done with onsite technical support to assure optimal results in production. After a successful trial, the OEM was convinced it could shift from fabric to a polymer interior using the color and additive concentrates. 

The Impact

The final product delighted the car’s design team, and provided a number of critical advantages for the manufacturer:

  • Reduced costs: The new material was less expensive than fabric – in raw form and in manufacturing costs.
  • Improved quality and reduced waste: It eliminated uneven quality and high scrap rates that were inherent to working with fabric-covered parts.
  • Increased efficiency: Because the polymer components were easier to manufacture, the OEM was able to reduce lead times for orders and the cost of carrying excess inventory.

By rethinking the material for its interiors, the OEM saved more than $500,000 a year in material, manufacturing and logistics costs. Further savings came from improved operational efficiency, based on the high consistency and stability offered by the new color and additive concentrate.

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Telecom Manufacturer Improves Performance, Cuts Costs

Network interface device maker produces better housings at lower cost


The Challenge

The material that a major telecommunications device maker injection-molded to make network interface device housings (NIDs) was not meeting up to critical production standards.

The information superhighway would come to a halt without NIDs – the literal on-ramps where a company’s wiring is connected to the telecommunication company’s local loop. They typically are mounted outdoors where they can be easily accessed, so they need protection from a rugged, weatherproof enclosure.

But the manufacturer’s enclosures – created in a clamshell-like shape from a single two-cavity mold – were breaking at an alarming rate when ejected from the mold.

After struggling with slow production and high scrap rates, the molder and the manufacturer needed a better solution than the PVC material they were sourcing from a local low-cost supplier.

The Solution

To get a third-party perspective on the situation, the companies brought in a team from PolyOne to help assess the situation. Their joint research revealed that the molding machine was working at excessive pressure and high temperatures – a result of the PVC material’s high viscosity. The stress was creating weakness in the molded parts.

A new material – along with technical support to optimize the production process – would likely solve the problem. PolyOne’s team worked closely with the manufacturer to understand the product requirements for weather resistance, medium- to high-impact resistance, color retention and UL94 V-0 flame resistance.

After considering all options, the team specified a standard Geon™ Rigid Vinyl based on its ability to meet all of the specifications while also eliminating the production issues. During the first molding trial, the new material was processed successfully at a lower temperature and pressure.

When the OEM tested the new molded parts for accelerated aging and impact resistance, they passed easily and the new material was approved for production.

The Impact

Once in full production, the benefits of the switch were substantial:

  • Reduced Cycle Time: The high flow properties of the Geon material allowed the molder to reduce packing and cooling time while still producing warp-free parts. That resulted in a cycle time reduction of more than 8% during the first trial.
  • Increased Production: The new material allowed the molder to increase part output, resulting in a machine cost-per-part savings.
  • Reduced Scrap Rate: The new material’s properties and performance created parts with improved toughness and impact resistance. The first molding trial achieved zero part breakage during ejection, fewer rejects and a major reduction in scrap.
  • Total Manufacturing Cost Savings: Although the price per pound of the new material was higher than the former vinyl choice, the OEM’s total costs were reduced by more than $21,000 a year as a result of faster cycle times, increased productivity and reduced scrap.

As an added benefit, the Geon material’s enhanced flow properties enabled the molding contractor to fill intricate features within the NID housing while maintaining a superior surface appearance. 

Once in service, the new parts met or exceeded additional expectations for dimensional stability, UV resistance, creep resistance and overall durability.


READ MORE ABOUT THE SOLUTION THAT BRINGS THIS IDEA TO LIFE:

Geon™ Rigid Injection Molding Vinyl

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Microspec Innovation Attacks Medical Infections

Breakthrough formulation improves antimicrobial properties of tiny medical tubing


The Challenge

In 2011 alone, 75,000 people died from infections they picked up while at acute-care hospitals, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). 

Peterborough, N.H.-based Microspec Corp., a leading manufacturer of medical tubing products for adult and pediatric markets, wanted to specifically target these healthcare acquired infections (HAIs) when it went to work on its next generation products, small and complex extrusions with outside diameters as small as 1/10th of a millimeter.

To combat HAIs, Microspec’s design team wanted to develop a specialty antimicrobial formulation. The antimicrobial needed to disperse consistently during the extrusion process while maintaining the proper surface finish for each product to effectively carry out its medical mission. And, of course, it needed to comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards.

The Solution

In searching for the right antimicrobial, Microspec’s engineers encountered PolyOne’s NEU Specialty Engineered Materials subsidiary and its WithStand™ Antimicrobial Technology. The manufacturer was attracted to the technology because it works with a range of polymers and has a proven track record in food and health care applications.

Microspec’s design team worked with NEU specialists to develop a custom formulation to meet targeted performance objectives, provide consistent dispersion to address HAIs, and satisfy surface finish requirements. 

The collaboration also discovered that by using a co-extrusion process, Microspec could reduce the amount of antimicrobial additive required – even while raising the concentration of antimicrobials on the inside surface of the tubing, where it is most effective.

The Impact

When the new formulation went into full production, Microspec was able to measure improvements in several areas:

  • Performance: Antimicrobial performance was improved through consistent dispersion of the WithStand additive and – using co-extrusion – by concentrating it at the tube’s interior surface. 
  • Properties: Superior surface finish was achieved, with improved smoothness and lubricity – or “slippage” – on the tubing surface. In addition, color consistency was improved through consistent dispersion of the antimicrobial.
  • Material cost: Optimized tubing design and co-extrusion reduced the amount of antimicrobial needed even while increasing its effectiveness.
  • Operating efficiency: At full production, scrap rates were reduced, as was the amount of labor needed to manage the process. Co-extrusion also eliminated a secondary antimicrobial coating step that had previously been necessary. These led to a combined 10% improvement in production costs.

The CDC’s subsequent annual report on HAIs noted a dramatic and ongoing reduction of all types of these infections as hospitals improve internal procedures and companies like Microspec do their part by delivering innovative products to support better patient outcomes.


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Schneider-Electric Differentiates with Eco-Conscious Junction Boxes

Non-halogen boxes deliver production efficiencies and sustainability


The Challenge

Finland-based Schneider-Electric NB (Strömfors) has developed a reputation for having the most sustainable applications in its market. While that helps differentiate the unit of Schneider Electric from competitors, it also presents an ongoing challenge for product engineers to find new ways to reduce the company’s environmental footprint – beyond what is even required by law. 

When the company turned its eye on one of its most ubiquitous products – electrical junction boxes – it had a real challenge on its hands.

For electrical safety, flame retardant gaskets insulate the boxes to reduce the chance of fire caused by sparks or electrical overload. For years, manufacturers have used halogens to achieve the needed safety properties. But halogens have faced scrutiny over the last decade for far-reaching health and environmental consequences akin to those of long-banned PCBs. 

As a leading producer of electrical junction boxes, Schneider-Electric wanted to replace the halogenated materials used in its gaskets. Anything they developed would have to meet the international electrical standard IEC 60670-1, which says the materials used in the wall boxes have to pass a Glow Wire Flammability Index (GWFI) 850°C testing (IEC 60695-2-12) at the application thickness, and 960°C at 2mm.

The Solution

As part of their search for a non-halogenated product, the design staff at Schneider-Electric met with PolyOne's GLS thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) material specialists. Their discussions led them to focus on a formulation within the OnFlex™ S HF portfolio of non-halogenated, flame retardant materials. But could it be modified to meet the application’s stringent requirements?

The engineers tested the material for shear resistance based on the thickness of the seal. It passed – performing satisfactorily at an 85 Shore A hardness level. They then modified the material to offer enough heat resistance so it could be overmolded onto polypropylene, the underlying material that provides the gaskets’ rigidity. 

Finally, further modifications enabled the material to bond sufficiently and be chemically compatible with polypropylene.

In addition to passing these tests, the material offered a number of other key advantages, including:

  • Easy processibility
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Excellent colorability, which can be achieved with pre-colored raw materials or by coloring natural grades during processing
  • Retained flexibility and performance at temperatures ranging from -50° C to +100° C
  • All grades meet UL94-V0 at 1.5 mm
  • All grades pass IEC 60695-2-12 Glow Wire Flammability Index (GWFI) at 960°

The Impact

The new approach to making the halogen-free electric junction boxes provided several important benefits to Schneider-Electric:

  • Flexibility in processing: The OnFlex S HF material can be supplied in either natural or pre-colored grades. Natural grades can be colored during processing with compatible products from PolyOne’s OnColor™ color concentrate line.
  • Eco-friendly at competitive price: The non-halogenated solution has a density 0.4 g/cm3 less than a traditional halogenated material, and this density advantage makes it price competitive with the traditional solution.
  • Overmolding capabilities: High-flow properties of OnFlex S HF TPE allow the gaskets to be overmolded in multicavity tools (up to 12 cavities per tool). The material also can be used in tools originally constructed for halogenated materials with no rework required.

Thanks to more environmentally conscious products, Schneider-Electric also expects to increase market share by as much as 20 percent – translating into a potential revenue increase of as much as $225,000. The environmental differentiation also helps defend against market incursion by low-cost competition.

By replacing a potentially harmful material, Schneider-Electric improved production efficiencies while solidifying its leadership position as an ethical, eco-friendly producer of high-quality electrical supplies.

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IŞILSAN Saves Time, Money with Self-lubricating Polymer

Manufacturer improves durability, cost-effectiveness for plastic spinning tubes, bobbins


The Challenge

Textile manufacturers invest millions of dollars in high-speed spinning lines to push the limits of quality, consistency and production efficiency. Downtime, scheduled or not, is unwelcome – and it’s often due to a plastic part that costs less than a dollar.

Istanbul-based IŞILSAN makes these plastic spinning tubes and bobbins, used on the world’s most advanced textile machinery to carry thread and spun yarn. But as the newest generation of machines introduced higher operating speeds and increased mechanical loads, it became clear that the plastic used to make the bushings was no longer suitable under the punishing conditions.

If a bushing gave out, production had to stop. And that wasn’t good for IŞILSAN’s customers, which are textile producers and original equipment manufacturers alike. 

The manufacturer needed a new way to make its parts. 

The Solution

In an effort to strengthen the bushings, the company’s engineering team tested materials from several suppliers, but the LubriOne™ wear-resistant compounds from Polyone were the most intriguing.

These advanced polymer solutions provide a low coefficient of friction and improved wear resistance properties, and can be applied to a wide range of engineering resins. But the specific product that would meet all of the company’s requirements didn’t exist. 

Closely working together, IŞILSAN and a PolyOne technical team developed a new polyamide-based formulation that provided the wear resistance of LubriOne™ with improved structural strength. Combined, these innovations extended the spinning rods’ durability for textile equipment running at line speeds of up to 20,000 RPM. 

The Impact

With improved bushings, IŞILSAN was able to provide its customers with a more competitive product than ever before – while also making improvements in its own injection-molding operations:

  • Reduced scrap. The company, which does its own injection molding, found that the polyamide and LubriOne™ combination generated a 50% reduction in scrap rates. 
  • Improved cycle times. The new material combination also resulted in a 40% improvement in cycle time for production of the bushings – freeing machine time for other projects that might otherwise have required capital investment to increase capacity.
  • Improved customer satisfaction. Switching to LubriOne™ helped IŞILSAN improve wear resistance of these bushings so that customers can run machines longer without maintenance. 

“PolyOne delivered exceptional service,” said Ibrahim Bey, general manager at IŞILSAN. “They provided rapid response to our request and helped us to provide the best quality system to our customers.”

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Laundry Appliance Maker Goes Beyond The Norm

Manufacturer achieves greater design freedom, an engaging consumer look, and saves $500,000


The Challenge

As a major global appliance manufacturer prepared to make consoles for a new line of laundry machines, the product team was at an impasse. 

Marketers said that consumers demanded clean designs in bold metallic colors. But the engineers said that manufacturing options for those specs were limited to three processes, all of which came with significant drawbacks. 

They could use metal, but it would restrict design freedom and show dents and scratches, leading to increased returns. They could use chrome-plated or painted plastic, but those operations require costly extra steps and come with associated environmental challenges. They could even borrow a page from outside the appliance market by molding parts from polymers pre-colored with metallic pigments. But molding highly pigmented polymers tends to accentuate the presence of unsightly weld lines, where the material flow fronts meet in the mold.

The team needed a breakthrough approach that would deliver the bold, metallic colors and attractive designs that consumers desired, with the cost efficiency and environmental friendliness that the company needed.

The Solution

As the team pondered its options, they found an answer after taking a look at samples of a new pre-colored, rigid vinyl material with metallic appearance from PolyOne. Leveraging experience in metallic colors for a wide range of markets, PolyOne’s technicians provided a specific formulation and colors that met the manufacturer’s stringent requirements.

The product team quickly agreed the technology would provide the cost-effective manufacturing process the engineers needed and the desirable look the marketers needed. But what about the weld lines? If these lines showed up on the front of the console, they would ruin the quality aesthetic the team sought.

Close cooperation between the manufacturer and PolyOne’s design group avoided this issue. The solution involved optimizing the part's geometry as well as the gating system within the mold. Using computer design and simulation analysis, combined with years of experience in configuring vinyl parts, the PolyOne team suggested changes to the tooling that strategically positioned the weld lines to an area not readily visible to consumers.

The Impact

Switching to a pre-colored, rigid vinyl material enabled the appliance manufacturer to meet its goal of producing an attractive line of laundry machines in bold, metallic colors while reducing costs — by more than $500,000 a year.

  • Reduced primary costs: The use of Geon™ FX Metal instead of secondary painting enabled the appliance maker to save $500,000 a year in manufacturing costs. In addition, it avoided having to ship parts from the molder to the painting facility — an additional savings of $50,000 per year.
  • Reduced secondary costs: Forgoing secondary painting operations eliminated scrap — estimated at $10,000 a year — and the environmental impact of VOC emissions.

In addition, the manufacturer anticipates savings through fewer returns due to surface scratches and mars because the molded-in color extends through the console walls, helping to maintain appearance during shipping, handling and normal use.

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Downsizing Micro-Electronic Devices Turns Up the Heat

ACP boosts efficiency, reduces environmental impact with high-heat material.


The Challenge

Aragonesa de Componentes Pasivos SA (ACP), a Spanish manufacturer of electronic components, had reached the limit -- its micro-potentiometers seemingly couldn’t get any smaller.

The devices control volume and other adjustments in electronic equipment of all kinds, so ACP shares its customers’ constant pressure to create smaller, thinner and more versatile products. That’s the kind of challenge the company embraces. “We have reversed the first rule of industrial production,” it proclaims. “Instead of designing to manufacture, we manufacture for design.”

ACP’s micro devices are built using lead-free reflow soldering via surface mount device technology. Their size was limited by the ability of the polymer-mounting surface to withstand the rigors of this production method without blistering or otherwise distorting. 

To make them any smaller, the polymer would have to be replaced by a new material that offered high dimensional stability of at least 260°C HDT (heat deflection temperature). It also needed to deliver self-extinguishing behavior when exposed to flame, creep resistance at high operating temperatures, ease of coloring and ease of processing for thin-wall multi-cavity tools.

The Solution

In seeking a material that would meet their needs, ACP’s design team met with a commercial and technical team from PolyOne, and it soon became clear that PolyOne’s Edgetek™ AM could handle the heat, flame and creep resistance and color and processing target goals. The two teams set to work on pushing the limits of size and power.

The Edgetek AM Family includes high-temperature specialty nylons (polyamides) designed specifically for electronic applications and delivers performance that can rival that of exotic, high performance polymers such as polyimides.
Because the PolyOne material had a lower density than the previous polymer used by ACP,  less material was needed per part. Testing also determined it would work with ACP’s existing multi-cavity tools – saving significant capital cost for retooling. 

Edgetek AM material was able to withstand the high heat of ACP’s surface mount technology, and it met the established requirements for flame resistance and glow wire resistance. Finally, the material incorporated non-halogenated and non-phosphorous flame retardants – consistent with ACP’s mission to produce devices with lower environmental impact.

The Impact

As ACP moved its new line of micro-potentiometers into production, it was able to capture a number of production efficiencies and achievements, including:

  • Reduced material consumption: the non-halogenated, flame-retardant Edgetek™ AM required 10% less material per part.
  • Avoided retooling: The processing flexibility of the new material allowed ACP to continue thin-wall injection molding in its existing multi-cavity tools, eliminating the need for a costly retooling.
  • Supported sustainability goals: As a non-halogenated solution, Edgetek™ AM provided ACP with a material that helps meet consumer demand for sustainable end products. 

These improvements will help support the company’s goal of 20 to 30 percent annual growth for micro-potentiometer applications while maintaining high performance standards and reducing the environmental impact of its electronics components. 

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New Molding Process Recharges Surge Suppressor Housings

Switch to pre-colored vinyl generates better products, $100,000 savings


The Challenge

It was a manufacturing nightmare: for every 20 pieces that rolled off the assembly line in China, three had to be thrown away. It was costly and embarrassing for the injection molding contractor – particularly when it came to the attention of the OEM that was purchasing the housings for surge protectors they exported to the United States.

The housings were produced in white, blue and gray using flame-retardant natural acryonitrile-butadiene-styrene (FR ABS) with concentrated color additives. But when they came out of the mold, not only were 15 percent of the parts being scrapped, others failed to meet standards for color consistency and high-quality appearance.

The molder and OEM needed a new solution that would deliver consistent color and appearance with a substantially lower scrap rate.

The Solution

Looking to solve the problem together, the OEM and molding contractor turned to PolyOne’s operation in Dongguan, China and explained their requirements. 

Whichever polymer was selected had to achieve a UL 94 V-0 safety rating at 1.8 mm thickness or lower. It also had to have good impact resistance and be consistently colorable in white, blue and gray. Scrap rates needed to be a maximum of 5 percent. The molder also wanted to achieve a reduction in overall production costs.

Working together with these customers, the PolyOne team developed a solution that used a Geon ™ high-flow, high-impact rigid vinyl molding material with a proven history in electrical housing applications and a UL 94 V-0 rating at 1.4 mm. 

The molder found it could eliminate the problems with color consistency by ordering the material pre-colored to the manufacturer’s specifications. An economic analysis determined this approach also would reduce production costs compared with the use of FR ABS and added color concentrates.

Two concerns remained: The molder didn’t have experience using vinyl as a raw material, and it wasn’t prepared to take on the high cost of retooling for the new material. So the PolyOne team formulated the customized Geon vinyl in white, blue, and gray in a way that would require only minor modifications to the existing mold. 

The Impact

The material transition went smoothly and production quickly ramped up. By switching from FR ABS and color concentrates to pre-colored Geon vinyl, the electrical manufacturer saved $100,000 in operating costs and gained a number of manufacturing improvements:

•    Improved color consistency that met all of the manufacturers standards
•    Improved appearance in the finish of parts
•    Increased speed and efficiency
•    Greatly reduced scrap rates

The injection molding contractor is now working comfortably with a wider range of raw materials and is on firmer footing with its customer.

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Improved Approach Boosts Savings for Aquarium Parts Maker

Polymer switch reduces costs, improves efficiency and cuts scrap


The Challenge

The market for aquarium products is competitive and price sensitive. So it was just part of the job when a leading producer of aquarium equipment, based in Shenzhen, China, went searching for a lower-cost source of the thermoplastic used to form the housing in one of its popular water pumps. 

It had been importing the acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylate (ASA) resin for the part, but found a new supplier located nearby that promised lower cost and improved logistics by supplying partially recycled ASA.

It wasn’t long, though, before the savings disappeared amidst a steady increase in production issues and quality concerns. 

The resin wasn’t performing well in the injection molding process, so scrap rates soared. And when rejected housings were reground to go back in the melt stream, it critically reduced the material’s impact resistance.

Despite the difficulty and cost of switching to yet another polymer, the manufacturer’s product team realized they needed a different solution. They found it just 75 km away at PolyOne’s Dongguan facility.

The Solution

The product team explained the issues they were having with the molded housing and outlined the performance requirements for the part:

  • It was often used outdoors, so it needed to meet UL f1 requirements for immersion and exposure to ultraviolet light.
  • It had to be color fast and maintain its physical properties under continued exposure to the elements. 
  • It had to be impact-resistant to avoid damage during overseas shipping and assembly. 
  • It needed to comply with the EU’s RoHS Directive, limiting the use of hazardous substances in electrical equipment, because it is sold in Europe as well as North America.

Working with PolyOne’s technical team, they determined a formulation of Geon™ M5240 would be the right solution. A vinyl rigid molding compound, it offers outdoor weatherability, a UL f1 rating, high impact resistance and excellent resistance to water.

Replacing one polymer with another is not a simple process; it requires careful planning and a methodical approach. An economic analysis based on specifics of the application and the new polymer was compelling enough for the manufacturer to commit to a trial run. In addition, an analysis of the tooling determined that Geon M5240 could be substituted without modifying the tool. 

The Impact

The trial went smoothly and the manufacturer completed its transition to Geon™ M5240. While the product now meets all of the durability and design requirements established at the beginning of the project, the big gains were an estimated $100,000 in cost savings.

  • Increased efficiency. Switching to the vinyl rigid molding compound reduced manufacturing cycle times.
  • Reduced scrap. Scrap rates dropped by more than 60 percent after the switch to the new raw material.
  • Improved sustainability. The manufacturer can incorporate, when needed, up to 20 percent regrind without sacrificing impact strength, a benefit not available under the ASA material it was using before.

The manufacturer also realized improved logistics because the Geon™ M5240 was sourced less than two hours away.

What started out as an effort to reduce a raw material cost ended up being much more. It built a template for future material and process improvement, reduced cost structures and increased quality of a major product line.

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Smart Alternative Yields Savings, Efficiency for Mars Otomotiv

Replacing metal cuts heat sink costs for LED lighting assemblies


The Challenge

Mars Otomotiv’s engineering team was on the hot seat. 

Since its founding in 2004, the Istanbul, Turkey-based maker of lighting for the global auto and transportation industries had built a good part of its thriving business around LED products. But manufacturing High Brightness LED lighting isn’t simple. 

While LEDs generate less heat than incandescent bulbs, they are more sensitive to it. For LEDs, heat needs to be effectively dissipated to prevent premature failure. This dissipation is typically handled by a heat sink, but the aluminum one used by the company was becoming a problem.

The part – sourced from a sub-supplier – required secondary work by Mars Otomotiv, including removal of flash, drilling holes and surface treatment to prevent corrosion. Using a supplier for the parts also led to unexpected costs and shipping delays, created logistics challenges and tied up stock and working capital.

The Mars Otomotiv engineering team needed to eliminate all of these issues by finding a different material for the heat sinks. They also wanted to be able to form the parts onsite without any of the costly finishing processes. If, in the process, the solution delivered a lighter-weight part that would be a great value add for Mars Otomotiv’s customers, which were always trying to cut weight to reduce the carbon emissions of the their vehicles.

The Solution

As part of their search for an alternative, Mars Otomotiv’s engineers met with PolyOne to explore non-metal options for the part. Working together, the group determined that Therma-Tech™ thermally conductive polymers had all the necessary properties to replace the aluminum heat sinks. They eventually settled on Therma-Tech TT6600-5001EC as the best solution to provide comparable heat dissipation.

But a significant hurdle remained: the cost of retooling. Mars Otomotiv owned the tooling used to form the metal heat sinks. It wanted to adapt the existing mold to accommodate the new material so it could avoid the time and capital expense of having a new one built. 

Again working in tandem, the Mars Otomotiv engineers and PolyOne’s technical team were able to alter the mold so it could process the thermoplastic in place of aluminum. They completed the metal-to-plastics transition in less than four months  bringing production in-house while using the same tooling.

The Impact

Today, Mars Otomotiv benefits from the simplified logistics of molding polymer heat sinks in-house – including reduced order lead time, improved on-time order completion and more free-working capital. 

The thermal dissipative performance of the thermoplastic heat sink is equivalent to that of aluminum – even for the highest-power HB LED model, which provides 27 total watts in nine HB LEDs.

Specific gains include:
•    39 percent reduction in the weight of finished assemblies
•    50 percent increase in the number of molded heat sinks produced each day
•    20 percent reduction in the total cost to produce each heat sink
•    Elimination of secondary finishing operations

In 2013, the Mars LED assembly was honored as a finalist in the annual Automotive Innovation Awards competition of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE).

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