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Bayer Corporation Plastics Help Shape The Innovative 2001 Pontiac Aztek

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 03 August, 2001  (Company News)
In creating the bold new look of the 2001 Pontiac Aztek, General Motors (GM) Corporation selected two engineering thermoplastic materials supplied by Bayer Corporation's Plastic Division to enhance the look and safety of the vehicle's instrument panel and knee bolsters.
Bayblend« polycarbonate/acrylonitrile- butadiene-styrene (PC/ABS) resin and Lustran« ABS resin from Bayer Corporation were used to meet the challenging coloring, contour and temperature-resistance needs of the Aztek, the auto industry's first ever Sport Recreation Vehicle (SRV), described by Pontiac as the cross between a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), a mini-van and a sports sedan.

Lustran ABS Resin Gives Intrument Panel Pizzazz

Lustran Elite HH (high-heat) ABS 1827 resin from Bayer was selected to shape the instrument panel cluster, radio trim plate, end caps and forward extension defroster grill of the 2001 Aztek. Its ease of coloring with metallic flake colorants made it an obvious choice for GM, which wanted the flakes added to the instrument panel to contribute to the distinctive appearance of the Aztek.

Lustran's heat-resistance and dimensional stability were also important considerations, especially for the air conditioning vents. The material comprising the vents needed to accommodate quick temperature change, such as when the air conditioner is run at full capacity on a hot day, blowing cold air over the warm vent ductwork. Impact resistance, toughness, as well as processing ease were other desirable characteristics.

The instrument panel cluster is 18 inches by 30 inches, while the radio trim plate measures 15 inches by 12 inches. Both parts are 9 inches deep. The thinner end caps measure 10 inches by 8 inches by 1 inch. The forward extension defroster grill, which includes the air conditioning vents, is 13 inches by 50 inches by 2 inches. These four components are molded separately by Meridian Automotive Systems of Dearborn, Mich.

Bayblend PC/ABS Blend Offers Important Safety Benefits

Bayer supplied Bayblend T 85 resin, a general-purpose PC/ABS blend, for the driver-side knee bolster and glove box assembly of the Aztek. The Bayblend resin provides excellent impact strength, eliminating the need for metal reinf orcement behind the knee bolster or glove box.

At the same time, its ductile failure properties help increase the safety of drivers and passengers who, in the course of an accident, may slide beneath incorrectly worn seatbelts and collide with these parts of the vehicle's interior.

The driver-side knee bolster is composed of two separately molded pieces. These two pieces, which are each 9 inches by 20 inches by 2 inches and feature molded-in ribs for improved structural integrity, are attached via vibration welding.

'Bayblend resin's good melt flow properties allow it to flow easily into ribbed areas that lock together to improve structural reinforcement,' explained Robert Hinkel, Engineering Manager, Meridian Automotive Systems, Lapeer Facility.

The glove box assembly is composed of three separately molded pieces, including the 10 inch by 14 inch by 1 inch inner and outer parts, plus the larger glove box bin, which measures 12 inches by 20 inches by 15 inches. Bayblend resin's properties help compensate for the long flow length of the glove box bin, according to Hinkel.

Bayer Provides Technical Support

Meridian Automotive Systems enjoys a long- standing relationship with Bayer Corporation's Plastics Division. For this project, in addition to supplying its engineering resins, Bayer also provided all computer-aided design (CAD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for the molding process, and also assisted in mold cooling.

'We get a very good melt flow with Bayblend and Lustran, opening our processing window to ensure the highest quality of our finished parts,' said Hinkel. 'But an additional reason for our success in working with Bayer for our OEM customers is the excellent technical support we receive from Bayer, in terms of molding, processing and coloring Bayer materials.'
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