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Automotive original equipment manufacturers seek under-the-bonnet material solutions which fulfil extremely tough performance criteria.
Under-the-bonnet (UTB) materials have a tough life. Parts located close to engines must withstand high temperatures and are exposed to a variety of corrosive fluids. Other UTB components must also weather rock salt, dirt and dust. Housings for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are subject to constant shock and vibration at high operating temperatures in addition to being exposed to fuels and lubricants. Battery cases must be extremely durable while maintaining good surface properties.
Automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) seek UTB material solutions which fulfil these extremely tough performance criteria. What is more, achieving cost, fuel and weight efficiencies has become an imperative in our sustainability-driven era. Finally, these material solutions must be available globally.
As conventional UTB materials such as steel and aluminium are gradually being replaced by high-performing plastics, Borealis has led the way, developing a wide portfolio of materials, ranging from our Fibremod™ family of engineered short (SGF) and long glass fibre (LGF) compounds for reinforced UTB; to high flow pure base resins, compounds with special fillers, and specific additive packages for standard UTB; and a range of polypropylene (PP) grades for injection moulded battery cases. Borealis is in fact the first company to have developed and commercialised a PP material for air intake manifolds, making it the first to have enabled the switch from polyamide (PA) to PP for this component.
The most decisive benefits offered by our material solutions that apply to all UTB segments involve three main aspects.
For standard UTB applications, solutions vary according to placement (e.g. proximity to engine requiring high heat resistance); transparency requirements (water reservoirs); required level of chemical resistance (brake fluid tanks); level of impact resistance and stiffness (lightning housing, under-body shielding).
Our Fibremod innovations are supporting the automotive value chain in achieving its weight-saving and process cost-saving targets. Our customised glass fibre reinforced PP solutions are at the cutting-edge of innovation, bringing lightweight, extra strength and impact performance to a wide range of applications, including front-end carriers, air intake manifolds, fans and fan shrouds, battery trays and more. They also support more environmentally-considerate production by reducing processing temperatures and energy requirements when replacing alternative solutions such as PA.
Highly integrated and complex housings for HVAC systems must withstand shock and vibrations at operating temperatures of up to 70° C while in continuous service. With temperature peaks of as high as 120° C, parts must remain dimensionally stable for sealing and should resist fuel and lubricants. What is more, odourless, low-emission resins are necessary to prevent unpleasant odours in heated air from seeping into a vehicle's interior.
Our advanced plastic solutions for the automotive industry help reduce vehicle weight for optimal performance. We continue to provide innovative material solutions such as our Fibremod line of glass fibre-reinforced products to help meet tomorrow's challenges. The expansion of our production and compounding capabilities ensures a reliable – and global – material supply. Local on-ground support is readily available thanks to a worldwide network of dedicated experts.
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