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TrendWatch: Materials Matter for Advanced Mobility

Discover how materials are making the future of personal mobility possible


Today, technology advances in personal mobility applications are moving faster than ever before. Materials play a big part in enabling the march toward electric cars, autonomous vehicles, better driver assist options, telematics and more. Download this e-book to learn about the connections between these upcoming developments and the advanced materials that can help make them possible.

As the technologies being developed in advanced mobility applications race forward, the materials that support them need to keep up. Each new innovation brings new challenges, and designers and engineers who approach material selection with fresh eyes will solve them faster. Find out how polymers, colorants and composites not only meet the challenges faced by new tech, but go beyond the basics to reach peak performance.

Download the e-book to learn:

  • Which trends and forces are shaping the future of advanced mobility technology
  • What challenges these trends present to designers and engineers
  • Materials that make mobility advancements possible
  • How specific materials meet each challenge 

Materials for Advanced Mobility

Discover how materials are making the future of personal mobility possible

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Nylon 6 vs. Nylon 66: What's the Difference?

Find out which material makes the most sense in your application

Nylon 6 vs. Nylon 66

You’re considering nylon for metal replacement because it can create parts that are durable, strong, yet also lightweight. But do you know which type to use? The two most popular grades of polyamide, also known as nylon, are type 6 and type 66 (sometimes seen as PA6 and PA66). Overall, they are fairly similar, but each has distinct benefits in specific applications. Nylon 6 processes at a lower temperature and has a lower mold shrinkage. The material itself is lightweight, has a lustrous finish, and is ideal for applications in which toughness, impact resistance, and surface finish are important. Some common applications of nylon 6 include:

  • Automotive components
  • Firearm components
  • Circuit Breakers
  • Pulleys and gears

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conversely, nylon 66 has a higher melting point, making it suitable for higher temperature applications. This material has improved stiffness, as well as higher tensile and flexural modulus, so it’s a good choice for applications in which wear and short-term heat resistance are important.

Due to its high melting point and durability, common applications of nylon 66 include:

  • Battery modules
  • Bolts and fasteners
  • Recreational equipment
  • General purpose housings

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nylon is a great option for metal replacement. The automotive industry relies on it, especially in under-hood components, to improve fuel efficiency, increase design freedom and reduce costs. Need proof? See how PolyOne helped one manufacturer switch from steel to nylon.

 

Download the full ebook below.


Nylon 6 vs. Nylon 66:
What's the Difference?

Whether you're looking to learn more about the history, performance or processability of the two most popular forms of nylon, PolyOne has you covered.

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Metal Replacement

Move over, metal...

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Metal Replacement Options

From automotive to marine, from consumer to healthcare, no matter which industry you’re involved in, if you manufacture products, you share similar goals with other producers. You want to maintain the high quality of your products while also reducing the cost of making them. You’re focused on improving the sustainability of your processes and products. And staying ahead of the competition? That’s a huge priority, so you rely on new designs to engage your end consumer. Replacing metal with engineered thermoplastics, vinyl and specialty polymer sheet can help you reach these goals.        

So why consider plastics in lieu of metal? Here are some of the primary benefits when compared to metal:

 

System Optimization

  • Light weighting
  • Improved product performance

Design freedom

  • Part integration
  • Complex design
  • Visual differentiation

Regulatory Compliance

  • RoHS
  • Drinking water
  • CO2 emissions

Production Improvements

  • Shorter processing cycle
  • Scrap rate reduction
  • Reduction in secondary processing

Cost Savings

  • Easier handling
  • Lower shipping costs

As your customers demand increasing performance, PolyOne continues to innovate and develop polymer technology that lets you rise to the challenge. These materials resist temperature and corrosion in ways that metal cannot always match. We can also fine-tune a custom solution to match your exact application without the risk of over engineering.

 

To learn more about your best metal replacement options, contact an expert at PolyOne today.


READ MORE ABOUT METAL REPLACEMENT APPLICATIONS:

 

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PolyCase Launches Revolutionary Polymer-Based Ammunition

High-density formulation helps improve design and function

Polymer-Based Ammunition

The Challenge

When PolyCase Ammunition was getting ready to produce its new line of high performance ammunition, the project team knew they needed a material that would be easily enable them to produce their patent-pending, injection molded projectile designs that function as well or better than conventional lead-core projectiles. They also wanted to take advantage of advances in material science and manufacturing processes to create ammunition that was also conscious of the environment. 

The designs were unique. These new projectiles would change the way ammunition transfers energy to targets and mitigate traditional challenges such as concentricity and weight variations for projectiles that would function flawlessly in all firearms. 

PolyCase needed a material with a specific density and uniformity, essential to making projectiles that would penetrate soft and intermediate barriers reliably, but that also offered a reduced risk of ricochet when hitting a hard target such as a hardened steel plate. And the projectiles still needed to provide the accuracy and trouble free operation of conventional lead-core ammunition.

 

The Solution

After experimenting with competitive materials, PolyCase approached PolyOne with their challenge. The PolyOne team used their extensive knowledge and experience working with high-density polymers to develop a specialized Gravi-Tech™ high-density polymer composite that met PolyCase’s needs and fit the profile of their proprietary injection molding process. PolyOne also provided technical support to speed product development and commercial launch.

The Impact

By replacing lead with the Gravi-Tech formulation, PolyCase Ammunition avoids the regulatory, disposal and employee exposure challenges associated with lead. Equally important, end users experience significantly reduced exposure and cleanup costs associated with using lead-core bullets in indoor and outdoor range facilities when hunting and shooting.

To learn more about polymer-based solutions for your products, contact an expert at PolyOne today.


Read more about the solution that BRINGS this idea to life:

Gravi-Tech Density Modified Formulations

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Rise above the four common lightweighting mistakes

Make sure you don’t take any missteps when removing weight


Studies by the EPA and other organizations show that each 5 percent of vehicle weight removed can improve fuel economy by 2 percent. Generally, replacing a metal component with a plastic one results in a 50 percent weight reduction, so the math is attractive to designers striving to reach Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets.

Here are ways you can ensure you don’t take any missteps when removing weight:

1. Stop thinking one-for-one: Rather than looking for materials that can replace a metal part using the identical geometry, designers are now capitalizing on the additional freedom to form plastics into net shapes. Polymers are formed differently and have inherent properties that are optimized by using best practices for their design.

2. Don’t wait too long to select materials: Engage with a polymer supplier early on in the design process to specify the exact material attributes you need. Knowledgeable suppliers can also open your eyes to material possibilities you may not have considered, either with new formulations or additives and fillers.

3. Think function, not just weight: Don’t miss the opportunity to improve the function or manufacture of the part – use plastics’ inherent design freedom to tackle problems other than just weight.

4. Eliminate the all-or-nothing approach: Critical components may indeed require metal for certain attributes, but that doesn’t mean plastic is entirely out of the picture. Plastic / metal hybrid designs can bring the best of both worlds – reduced weight and structural integrity. Investigate processes that enable plastics and metal to be formed together, including insert molding and heat staking.

Avoiding lightweighting mistakes helps to:

  • Improve manufacturing efficiency
  • Increase functional attributes of a part
  • Take advantage of hybrid plastic/metal designs

How PolyOne can help: You can rely on the expertise we’ve gained in developing automotive material solutions for a wide range of electrical and lighting applications. We’ll supply you with proven solutions that take the hassle out of achieving your goals.


READ MORE ABOUT THE SOLUTIONs THAT BRING THIS IDEA TO LIFE:

reSound™ NF Natural Fiber Reinforced Formulations

OnForce™ LFT Long Fiber Reinforced Composites

Therma-Tech™ Thermally Conductive Formulations

Stat-Tech™ Static Dissipative & Electrically Conductive Formulations

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Resealable Can Closure Rocks Beverage Market

XO Slider from XOLUTION raises performance without disrupting established process


The Challenge

Product and packaging differentiation are fundamental to success in the consumer food and beverage market, but the traditional beverage can market had seen few innovations in the past several years. A recent technology breakthrough enabled XOLUTION GmbH (Munich, Germany) to change the landscape entirely.

XOLUTION, a design and development company, created the XO resealable can closure. It’s simple to use: consumers lift a pull tab similar to traditional can closures, breaking a tamper-evident band. Users then push the XO Slider to the open position. To reseal, they just reverse the process and push the tab to “seal” the can. This deceptively simple innovation met established consumer demands for convenience and portability, but could also be processed on existing filling lines.

Market studies show that consumers will accept a higher price point for a resealable can, and that the XO closure can be expected to generate significant market demand in the 16–28 year old age group. Beyond these benefits, the new design is compatible with existing production facilities. Bottling companies can even process traditional and resealable cans simultaneously on the same filling line without any issues.

XOLUTION needed a supplier that could help them identify the best material for the application – one that would meet performance and food-contact regulation requirements. In addition, XOLUTION wanted a supplier that could provide the same material locally in the EU, US, and other potential markets, such as Asia or South America.

The Solution

XOLUTION turned to PolyOne for help. After analyzing the application requirements, the PolyOne team developed a customized GLS™ themoplastic elastomer (TPE) material for cold-fill applications that maintains an internal pressure of up to 6 bar and adds no taste or odor. The material also provides excellent adhesion and good flow properties for use in two-component (2K) molding.

The design includes complicated geometries that are challenging to fill, so the material also flows easily to fully fill the part. In addition, the custom formulation is dimensionally stable and provides the high levels of compression set and mechanical performance needed to maintain the seal during transportation or storage at extreme temperatures and over long time periods. As required, the material complies with EU 10/2011 and US food-contact regulations.

The Impact

Using the custom-formulated GLS material, XOLUTION produced an innovative beverage can closure. The new formulation provided the following benefits:

  • In addition to its exceptional performance, including flow, adhesion, compression set, and mechanical properties, the new specialty TPE also maintains compatibility with existing filling lines for streamlined production.
  • Because the material complies with EU and US food-contact regulations and is supplied with supporting documentation, it helped accelerate time to market.
  • Consistent TPE formulations and color masterbatches - supplied locally in the US, Europe, and other potential markets worldwide - help to maintain brand integrity on a global basis.
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Medical Device Shielded from Radiation Without Lead

Global medical device OEM reduces costs and environmental impact


The Challenge

A leading global manufacturer of medical equipment was anticipating a serious regulation change. The European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) eventually would lead to a ban on lead shielding components in equipment like the company’s new line of computed tomography (CT) scanners.

Shielding elements protect sensitive electronic components from degradation due to X-ray exposure during a CT scan. Designs traditionally have required lead parts produced by machining or casting. 

To stay ahead of the regulatory curve, the manufacturer's material technology team needed to find a replacement for lead. They wanted an injection moldable material with equivalent radiation shielding performance and the ability to provide uniform shielding with no “hot spots.” Injection molding also would allow the company to eliminate machining and increase productivity and design freedom for components.

The Solution

Working with Reiter-HG Geiger, a sophisticated injection molding processor specializing in demanding applications, the OEM team began their search for a sustainable material to replace lead, one that would effectively shield X-rays up to 140 keV while offering additional manufacturing benefits. 

Two application areas were targeted initially: a printed circuit board controller unit and shielding plates for various electronic components linked to each of the numerous detector elements.

The search for a suitable material brought them to PolyOne. Teams from all three companies worked together to develop new designs based on Trilliant™ Healthcare Radiation Shielding Compound, a high-density, metallic-filled material. The material, a highly filled polymer based on PolyOne’s Gravi-Tech™ technology, is specifically formulated to address health care industry needs and regulations.

Intensive material evaluation by the OEM showed that Trilliant™ blocked radiation at levels equivalent to those of pure lead. In addition, excellent dispersion of the metallic filler eliminated “hot spots” where radiation could leak out.

The Impact

The three-way collaboration allowed the manufacturer to reduce shielding component costs from 30 to 50 percent due to machining, assembly and regulatory cost reductions versus traditional methods. In addition, the company reduced the health and environmental impact of its equipment by using an RoHS-compliant, eco-conscious and equally effective alternative to lead.

Finally, the material gave the OEM's designers greater geometric flexibility so that they could shield areas more effectively than with machined parts.


Disinfectant Resistant Housing Materials for Medical Devices

Increased disinfection protocols to reduce hospital acquired infections are literally cracking common medical device housing materials. Find out how to solve this problem – download this white paper.

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Auto Supplier Cuts Costs of Painting Trim Parts

Masterbatch approach eliminates added cost, chemical volatility of painting


The Challenge

A leading manufacturer of molded auto parts and subassemblies was in a tough spot. Its client – a top global automotive OEM – demanded high-quality parts for its highly engineered performance vehicles. 

But the manufacturing process for the decorative trim molded from ABS was time consuming, requiring as many as eight steps to complete. After molding, the parts had to be cleaned, primed, painted and clear coated – with three rounds of drying in between. 

With multiple locations in Germany, China and the United States, the supplier needed to reduce the number of steps to save time and money – without sacrificing product quality or resistance to UV radiation.

The Solution

The auto parts maker reached out to PolyOne, which was already was providing it with specialty materials. Working in close cooperation, technical teams from both companies identified a product within the OnColor™ FX Smartbatch portfolio as a potential answer. 

The new material, which could be produced in a metallic-effect masterbatch, would allow the supplier to replace the time-consuming painting process. That, in turn, would eliminate emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which required a costly recovery process under environmental regulations.

The concentrates also would provide UV resistance for color that won’t fade.

The Impact

After making the switch to OnColor FX Smartbatch color and additive concentrates, the supplier achieved a number of significant benefits:

  • Cost reduction: Overall improvement in material cost performance versus painted ABS. The total savings varies, depending on color, resin, equipment, and other processing factors.
  • Inventory savings: Rather than stocking several pre-colored materials, the molder could purchase and store natural resin that can become whatever color is required when combined with the proper masterbatch.

The switch to masterbatch technology was made without a large capital investment. In addition, equipment costs showed a quick return on investment (ROI) because of the material savings.

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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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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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