JEC World 2019 preview: Bond Laminates

Bond-Laminates (Cologne, Germany, 5/N33) is featuring its Tepex continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites.

Bond-Laminates (Cologne, Germany, 5/N33) is featuring its Tepex continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites. Owing to high demand for Tepex — primarily from the automotive and IT industries — LANXESS (corporate parent of Bond-Laminates) is expanding its production facilities for the structural material in Brilon, Germany. The company expects to have two additional production lines up and running by mid-2019.

New applications for Tepex in lightweight automotive design include door module carriers for a German mid-size vehicle, front end carriers of SUVs for the U.S. market and rear seats for a German luxury car. “Series production applications such as carriers for electrical and electronics modules and components of lithium-ion battery modules are emerging in the field of electric mobility,” states Henrik Plaggenborg, head of Tepex Automotive.

Bond-Laminates also reports that it is developing Tepex product types made from recycled fibers in a matrix of recycled thermoplastic material. The company says that tests on initial material samples have demonstrated that these products are on a par in terms of mechanical and flame-retardant properties with equivalents made from virgin materials.

 

Bond-Laminates is also featuring hybrid molding with in-mold decoration (IMD) technology. Through this process, components can be integrated into an injection molding tool, simplifying part painting and obviating the use of a painting line.

Typical applications for Tepex in the IT industry — and featured at JEC — include lids of laptops, tablets and smartphones. These tend to be made using the hybrid molding method. This involves the semi-finished composite product formed in an injection molding tool and then given additional features such as reinforcing ribs, guide channels and snap fits by means of injection molding. “Not having to use a forming tool, the high level of automation and the short cycle times coupled with limited waste result in a production process that, despite higher costs for the injection molding tool, is much more cost-effective than the separate forming and back injection molding methods previously used for the semi-finished product, or other processes based on thermoset plastics or even light metals,” explains Dr. Dirk Bonefeld, who is responsible for areas including sales in the Consumer Electronics and Sport application segments at Bond-Laminates. In addition, says Bond-Laminates, the method also produces smooth, directly paintable surfaces and eliminates the need to apply a filler layer that levels out small rough spots such as sink marks and microholes.