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Weighing In: The Auto Industry Continues to Diet

The automotive market continues to demand lightweight solutions, driven in a large part by legislation such as CARS 2020 in Europe and CAFE in the U.S., both of which aim to reduce CO2 emissions. Trinseo is meeting the need with innovative engineering and low density materials.

Lighter Solutions Can Lighten Costs

Trinseo PULSE™ GX50 Resin is an optimized mixture of polycarbonate (PC) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) specially developed for automotive interior component applications. The material offers a four percent decrease in density* enabling lighter final parts, increasing fuel efficiency. The material’s easy flow characteristics result in the production of less scrap which means less waste and that’s good for the planet!

It was these properties that led auto supplier and key partner Samvardhana Motherson Peguform (SMP), to approach Trinseo when Audi wanted to improve the appearance of their bumper grills while reducing weight and, if possible, cost. When Audi’s original plan to create two painted bumper versions—a high gloss and a low gloss version—proved too costly using another material, SMP asked Trinseo for material options for painted exterior parts.

Trinseo’s PULSE™ GX50 enabled SMP to create aesthetically pleasing high quality bumpers for Audi. This combined with the reduction in the cost of parts, and a reduction in CO2 emissions due to the lighter weight of the final part, were the basis for Audi selecting PULSE™ GX50 for their bumper applications.

It has been used for the front bumper grills on the Audi A4, and the A5, which will launch mid-2016. The bumper grills are Trinseo’s first exterior application with PULSE™ GX50 globally.

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*Compared to conventional PC/ABS materials

A Skinny Alternative to Aluminum

When challenged to create a lightweight plastic solution that could replace a painted aluminum exterior auto part, Trinseo’s PULSE™ XT 9215 was the answer. PULSE™ XT 9215 is optimized for lightweighting exterior automotive applications. The material enables improved dimensional stability (smaller gaps between parts) and a better fit and finish for optimal quality. It also offers a significant density advantage —up to 10%—for lighter parts and optimized costs. Auto manufacturer Opel chose Trinseo as its supplier of PULSE™ XT 9215 for the roof rails of its new Astra Sports Tourer.

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