CSP VICTALL partners with JMC on first composite pickup box in China
CSP VICTALL (Tanshan, China) has announced that Jiangling Motors Corp. (JMC) will use advanced composites for the pickup boxes of its new Yuhu 3 and Yuhu 5 pickup trucks, the first such use of composites in the Chinese automotive industry. The composite box, developed by CSP VICTALL, is designed to solve the issues of heavy weight, low corrosion resistance and high cost associated with sheet metal pickup boxes.
The collaborative project between JMC and CSP VICTALL began in 2017. The R&D team of CSP VICTALL provided comprehensive solutions for JMC in raw material development, manufacturing processes and product design. With its success in developing similar products in the North American market, Continental Structural Plastics (Auburn Hills, Mich., U.S.), the parent company of CSP VICTALL, also provided support for the project. The composite product uses integrated sheet molding compound (SMC) that is molded into the desired geometry in just one step, significantly reducing the production cycle and the number of molds required.
“In materials engineering, shaving a single kilogram per car is a significant accomplishment,” says Ding Zhiyong, chief technical officer of auto body at JMC. “Now the new Yuhu SMC pickup box is 30% lighter than a sheet metal pickup box in the same configuration. This is far ahead of our competition in China. JMC is always looking for innovation opportunities in new material development. We believe the collaboration with CSP VICTALL will benefit our customers by letting them actually experience the performance improvement generated by the weight reduction achieved by using the innovative SMC pickup box.”
To produce its proprietary sheet molded compound, CSP VICTALL uses a fully automated compounding line that is said to accurately control the ratio of different raw materials like high-strength resin and glass fiber in its patented formula. SMC sheets produced from this formula are made into pickup boxes through a process that includes the material being robotically loaded in to a mold, vacuum-assisted compression molding in a 4,300-ton press and cooling. This advanced manufacturing process is designed to meet the high efficiency and quality requirements of automotive OEMs.
A pickup box made from composites offers significant benefits over a box made from metals, CSP VICTALL says, including lower weight, resistance to corrosion and high impact strength. After impact testing with a toolbox, a gas barrel and bricks, the composite pickup box reportedly did not show any of the damage that a conventional sheet metal box would.
“Our SMC project with JMC will set a benchmark for the industry and generate positive feedback in the market,” says Song Changjiang, general manager of CSP VICTALL. “Compared to traditional sheet metal pickup boxes, SMC boxes are easier to mold, have more complex shapes and are more cost-effective. They will be well received by domestic automobile OEMs for their supremacy in vehicle weight reduction.”
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