Exterior

Appearance, performance, integration and sustainability combine to make tomorrow's cars more than just the sum of their parts.

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Exterior

From first sight a vehicle must have presence. Its colour must be consistent and unblemished, its lines fluid and seamless, and its surfaces smooth and dynamic. Achieving this requires a unique set of material properties balanced for peak performance in meeting the needs of each specific application.

Engineered to be more than the sum of its parts

Ultimately, reliability in each particular respect is confirmed by the reality of day-to-day and long-term performance. For tough, practical and aesthetically important exterior applications, our polypropylene (PP) and thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) compounds provide the strength and surface characteristics to replace metals and expensive plastic materials. Our materials do so without any compromises in mechanical performance to give corrosion-free reliability throughout a vehicle's lifespan. Moreover, they enable significant weight savings and greater vehicle fuel economy.

At Borealis and Borouge, we are working in close co-operation with Tier 1 and 2 suppliers and are continuously engaged in extending the possibilities of PP and TPO compounds for automotive exterior applications that meet original equipment manufacturers' (OEMs) global specifications. These developments focus on lower density and lighter weight materials which are uncompromising in their balanced stiffness and impact, maintain very good flowability and narrow-gap performance, and provide for easier and lower cost manufacturing.

Our material contribution to weight loss:
  • Decreasing filler content lowers material density
  • Increasing stiffness of material and therefore the part allows for reduction of wall-thickness, using less material and lowering weight
  • Improving flowability allows easy and fast filling of low wall-thickness moulds
  • Integrated part design optimises space and lowers the number of additional joining elements and fittings
  • Good processability minimises production scrap and brings cost savings

Essential surface aesthetics

To address the problem of flow marks, often referred to as tiger stripes, we introduced a next generation of PP compounds based on our latest Borstar® technology polymers which prevent the appearance of tiger stripes across a very broad processing window, saving costs and delivering a premium surface appearance for unpainted applications.

At Borealis, we are also supporting the growing industry trend towards primerless paint systems for exterior plastic applications which reduce cycle time and system costs. In order to fulfil increasingly stringent criteria in respect of paint adhesion performance, the polymer and paint system have to be well-tailored and adjusted to each other, and production processes need to be reliable and robust. To help OEMs meet this challenge and achieve greater economy, we have undertaken a major R&D initiative to develop primerless two-layer paintable compounds for bumpers and body panels.

Finally, moulded-in colour solutions enable cost reduction through the elimination of painting cycles. Putting our expertise to work on behalf of OEMs, our dedicated colour department cooperates with pigment suppliers to develop narrow colour specifications for our PP compounds. These include the simulation of the quality special effects of other more expensive materials without having to actually use them.

Offering solutions to tomorrow's needs today

Whether you are producing bumpers, body panels, front grilles, rocker panels or exterior trims, we are the right partner. Our comprehensive ranges of PP and TPO polymers and compounds have properties that are balanced and tailored to precisely match your application needs. As such they add value through driving reductions in system costs, while providing excellent aesthetics and reliable performance to the highest global industry standards, as well as enabling faster production cycles. And, no less importantly, they reduce both material and energy inputs for enhanced sustainability. Our close working partnerships with OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers over many years have given us a unique understanding of automotive value chain needs. Of special importance is that our ongoing dialogue with partners helps in the early identification of evolving market trends. This allows us to focus the resources and scientific skill-sets of our Borealis Innovation Centres on ensuring you have the optimal, differentiated and integrated solutions that meet tomorrow's needs, before they become tomorrow's challenges.

Fibremod™

Engineered for success

Global manufacturers of motor vehicles and appliances require new material solutions to replace existing conventional ones. Such materials must not only meet or exceed current performance and quality levels, but must also be globally available, cost and energy efficient, and help contribute to enhanced sustainability. Our Fibremod™ product family of fibre-based compound polypropylene (PP) innovations supports the automotive and appliance value chain in achieving weight-saving and process cost-saving targets. Replacing engineering plastics and metal parts with energy efficient and lighter weight PP grades leads to improved fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. Our customised glass fibre reinforced PP solutions are at the cutting edge of innovation, bringing lighter weight, extra strength and impact performance to a wide range of applications. Our innovative grades also support more environmentally-considerate production by reducing processing temperatures and energy requirements when replacing alternative solutions such as polyamide (PA).

Consolidated strengths of Fibremod

In order to help our customers and partners identify, compare and select the right grade for their own needs, Borealis and Borouge have consolidated all its fibre reinforced PP material grades under the single name Fibremod. For the most part, Fibremod materials are designed for the higher performance demands of automotive and appliance applications. They provide the complete spectrum of mechanical and chemical resistant property combinations to offer the widest range of solution possibilities. This delivers time and cost savings through greater processing efficiency, parts integration and end-use performance, as well as reductions in part application weight as well as energy and material consumption.

Fibremod benefits at a glance

Short glass fibre reinforced polypropylene (PP-SGF) products are produced as compounds on co-rotating twin screw extruders. The combination of specially sized short glass fibres, the PP matrix and the chemical coupling define the final material properties. PP-SGF products are usually converted to parts using various injection moulding technologies, including complex processes such as injection compression moulding or injection foam moulding.

  • Broad portfolio, from 10%-40% filled standard grades to tailor-made products with optimised matrices, glass fibres and/or filler mixture contents for the most demanding of applications
  • Global availability and production flexibility
  • Wide range of achievable performance attributes thanks to flexibility in selection of base polymers
  • Wide conversion window
  • Less sensitive to welding line, enabling greater design freedom
  • Good surface properties
  • Good organoleptic properties

Long glass fibre reinforced polypropylene (PP-LGF) is a group of glass fibre reinforced products which are produced by pultrusion to achieve increased fibre length in both pellets and final parts. The glass fibres are typically arranged in a parallel manner in the pellets, with each having the same length as the pellet itself.

  • Broad range of fibre and matrix combinations covering glass fibre contents from 20%-60%
  • Highest stiffness and strength at elevated temperatures thanks to tailor-made solutions
  • Proprietary technology enables high fibre impregnation
  • Excellent flowability for smooth processing and uniform shrinkage behaviour
  • Outstanding energy absorption in high-speed deformation
  • Ideal for applications requiring increased impact, temperature and fatigue resistance while maintaining high stiffness
  • Low shrinkage anisotropy (warping)

Reliable global partner in product innovation

Borealis has extensive experience in developing balanced PP-SGF recipes to meet customer demands. We use the best production technology available for optimal product performance and to support customers in material conversion.

We have over 20 years experience in producing PP-LGF and have developed a proprietary processing technology which produces high-quality products in terms of fibre impregnation, and a broad range of fibre and matrix combinations for tailor-made solutions. 

We offer our customers flexibility in production around the world: PP-SGF is produced at Borealis and Borouge plants in Monza (Italy), Beringen (Belgium), Itatiba (Brazil), Shanghai (China), and in North America via toll compounding. PP-LGF is produced both in Monza as well as by way of toll compounding.

Because glass fibre reinforced PP grades are by nature complex in structure, extensive engineering is required. Computer-aided methods reliably predict the final part qualities of the conversion processes (shrinkage, warping etc.), as well as the fibre orientation distribution. Based on these results, our Integrative Simulation Approach computes on a local scale the material behaviour as the basis for simulating performance of the final application. We have established the latest testing standards for glass fibre reinforced PP grades and are committed to further enhancing application performance prediction methodologies.