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11th July 2019, Cologne

A8 sheds weight with Lanxess Tepex

The Audi A8’s rear seats, the shells have been developed by Faurecia Automotive Seating and are manufactured using the hybrid moulding process with Lamxess Tepex dynalite. © Audi AG

The Audi A8’s rear seats, the shells have been developed by Faurecia Automotive Seating and are manufactured using the hybrid moulding process with Lamxess Tepex dynalite. © Audi AG

Tepex continuous-fibre-reinforced composites from Lanxess are increasingly becoming established in the large-scale production of various structural components for lightweight automotive design.

The new Audi A8, for example, can be supplied with two electrically adjustable individual rear seats, the shells of which have been developed by Faurecia Automotive Seating and are manufactured using the hybrid moulding process.

The polyamide-6-based Tepex dynalite 102‑RG600 is employed for the shells, along with Lanxess short-glass-fibre-reinforced Durethan BKV30H2.0 polyamide 6 as an over-moulded material.

 “Our composite material was chosen for this structure because it is around 45 per cent lighter than a comparable metal design but can also be produced cost-effectively, thanks to the high degree of functional integration,” said Henrik Plaggenborg, Head of Tepex Automotive. “It can also withstand the high mechanical loads in a crash.”

The system supplier of the fully assembled rear seat system is the Automotive Seating business division of Faurecia in Stadthagen, Germany.

One-shot process

Up to now, comparable seats have mainly been made using metal shells screwed onto a substructure. Manufacturing the metal shells is time-consuming because they consist of numerous individual parts that have to be joined together by means of welding in several steps.

“In the hybrid moulding process, a ready-to-install component is created in a single process step,” explained Tilmann Sontag, Project Manager at the Tepex Automotive. “The pre-contoured and heated semi-finished composite product is formed directly in the injection moulding tool for this purpose and equipped with numerous functions by means of injection moulding. This simplifies subsequent assembly and leads to considerable savings in production costs.”

In addition to reinforced ribs, the piping groove for securing the seat cover in place as well as numerous holders and guides for seat ventilation and cable holders, for example, are integrated into the component. The clips to attach the seat shell are also directly injected.

“The shell can be assembled easily and quickly without screws using the clips, and disassembled again for servicing purposes,” said Sontag. “The clips are highly stable and meet all relevant safety requirements.”

Lanxess provided the project partners with comprehensive support in the development of the seat shells and the complete rear seat system as part of its HiAnt customer service. It determined material data about the composite and over-moulded material Faurecia required for structural simulations, in order to calculate the mechanical resilience of the safety component. In addition, several strategies for forming the semi-finished composite product precisely and reproducibly were analysed in a draping simulation. The findings were incorporated into recommendations for designing the tools and processes.”

Tepex dynalite is already proving its value in numerous large-scale applications of structural lightweight automotive design. It is used, for example, to produce front ends, brake pedals, underbody panelling components, reinforcing structural inserts for body detachable parts as well as carriers for door and electronic modules on a large scale. Lanxess anticipates that the composite material will in future be used to manufacture backrests and armrests, as well as seat shells for new, highly complex seat systems in autonomous driving.

“We are thinking, for example, of freely rotating, swivelling or removable seats that not only weigh very little but also meet all crash requirements and are fitted with numerous integrated functions such as seat belts, infotainment and comfort systems,” said Mr Plaggenborg.

www.lanxess.com

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