Specialty chemicals manufacturer LANXESS (Leverkusen, Germany) reported on May 6 that German car maker Audi is using LANXESS technology in its new flagship A8 model. The plastic-metal composite technology is used in the front end of Audi’s new top-of-the-range model. The component is a beam in the engine compartment to which, for example, radiator and headlight assemblies are attached.
A new material known as organic plastic sheet is used alongside an aluminum sheet to reinforce the complex front end. The organic sheets are produced by Bond-Laminates, a development partner. LANXESS produces the materials used to make the organic plastic sheet. Continuous glass fibers are first woven into the form of mats. These mats are then combined with a special polyamide from LANXESS to produce a sheet. Unlike conventional metals, organic plastic sheets can be formed into virtually any shape by heating. The use of this innovative LANXESS technology makes the component lighter, thereby reducing the overall weight of the vehicle and its fuel consumption, as well as cutting CO2 emissions.
The Semi-Crystalline Products (SCP) business unit supplies the plastic to the organic sheet manufacturer Bond-Laminates. Ingolstadt, Germnay-based Audi unveiled its new flagship model in March.
“We have been working successfully with Audi AG for over 10 years now and are delighted that our innovation is being used in the new model A8,” said Hubert Fink, head of the Semi-Crystalline Products business unit.
More than 40 million front ends have now been manufactured with hybrid components made of Durethan from LANXESS. The SCP business unit belongs to the Performance Polymers segment, which achieved total sales in fiscal 2009 of approximately €2.4 billion.