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Polyscope Seeks to Revolutionize Interior Manufacturing

Providing interior materials that are lighter, more cost-effective and efficient to produce are the goals of Polyscope Polymers (Geleen, Netherlands; www.polyscope.eu). The company is banking on its Xiran styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) co-polymers to become commonplace in A-, B- and C-pillar cover, sunroof frame and knee bolster structure applications.

Providing interior materials that are lighter, more cost-effective and efficient to produce are the goals of Polyscope Polymers (Geleen, Netherlands; www.polyscope.eu). The company is banking on its Xiran styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) co-polymers to become commonplace in A-, B- and C-pillar cover, sunroof frame and knee bolster structure applications. While SMA has been used for dash board and instrument panel carrier applications for a number of years, Polyscope says Xiran is a new grade of engineering plastic that utilizes higher amount of maleic anhydride (MZA), which provides improved heat stability and limits deformation. “One of the problems that SMA has shown over the years is brittleness and heat absorpsion,” says Michael Charles Downs, managing director of Polyscope. “Because we have higher levels of MZA we have achieved a much better level of heat stability, which allows us to use the product in a number of new applications.” Controlling the brittleness clears the way for SMA to be used as the support structure for dashboard surface-mounted airbag systems and as the structure for housing audio, navigation and HVAC control systems. “Brittleness is a crucial factor in manufacturing for these structural applications because you have a lot of wires and electronics that have to be fed through the part and if it has a tendency to break, that requires the modules to be reassembled, which increases cost and reduces efficiency,” Downs says. SMA’s properties also provide for good direct adhesion of leather and other soft-touch materials, traditionally used as surface wraps on the outer portions of the dashboard structures. In terms of weight savings, Downs says SMA requires less overall thickness than traditional long-glass polymers—typically 3.4 mm for long-glass, compared to 2.2 mm for SMA—while injection mold tooling life expectancy is increased as a result of the lower glass content of SMA—12% versus 30% for polypropylene.—KMK