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Four Innovative Products Molded With Bayer Polyurethane RIM Systems Win Design Awards At Structural Plastics 2001

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 06 April, 2001  (Company News)
Polyurethane reaction injection molding (RIM) technology received further endorsement this week from the plastics and design industries. Four new products fabricated with RIM technology - and polyurethane RIM materials supplied by Bayer Corporation - won 4 of the 12 market categories in the design competition at the Structural Plastics 2001 conference in Atlanta.
The Structural Plastics Division of the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) hosted the 29th annual conference and design competition, which judged 66 new products.

A 6-foot-by-6-foot, 56-pound rear shield on a new line of John Deere combines won the 'Lawn & Garden/Agricultural Equipment' market category. John Deere utilized RIM technology, a proprietary in- mold coating process and a structural foam polyurethane RIM material from Bayer's Polyurethanes Division to harvest design and cost efficiencies.

According to Gregory McCunn, Supply Management Engineer, Composites, for John Deere Harvester Works, the company's engineers co-developed the rear shield with a rear engine deck that is housed beneath the shield. He said Deere anticipated making future changes to the engine deck, which might also require design changes to the rear shield.

Deere solved this design challenge using the polyurethane RIM process and an in-mold coating technology from RIM molder G.I. Plastek, of Newburyport, Mass., that produces a decorated part right out of the mold with a Class A finish in Deere's distinctive shade of green. 'We opted for the lower-cost tooling that reaction injection molding offers,' McCunn said. Deere was able to utilize a nickel-shell tool for the rear shield, which offered cost savings of more than $150,000 compared with more expensive tooling materials.

Deere selected the Baydur® 730 IBS (interactive blowing system) structural foam polyurethane RIM system from Bayer to mold the rear shield. The Baydur 730 IBS system provided a lightweight material that is structurally stiff enough that it does not require any secondary reinforcement across the more than 30 square feet of rear shield, such as ribbing or metal braces, said McCunn. 'Strength across the large surface area of this part was important,' he added.

McCunn said Deere is making design changes to the engine deck and adding the new John Deere logo to the tooling, which will be less costly thanks in part to the efficiencies of RIM technology

SRIM Truck Box is Tough, Corrosion-Resistant

In the 'Transportation' market category, the GMT-800 composite pickup truck box from General Motors drove into the winner's circle. Bayer developed a structural RIM (SRIM) system that met the automaker's demanding specifications for a full-size composite cargo box to replace four steel panels. Combined with a composite tailgate and fenders, the composite truck box shaves nearly 50 pounds from the truck's weight and offers a tough, corrosion- resistant truck box.

Bayer developed the Baydur® 425 internal mold release (IMR) polyurethane HD- SRIM system specifically for the GM application. This material also is suitable for other advanced composite applications in automotive and light truck vehicles. Bayer's HD-SRIM technology offers inherent advantages over metals because of its lighter weight, corrosion resistance, design flexibility and opportunity for parts consolidation. A unique feature of the Baydur 425 HD-SRIM system is its excellent stability under high-heat as well as very cold conditions. The composite box is fabricated by Meridian Automotive Systems by encapsulating a glass fiber preform from Owens Corning with the Baydur 425 HD-SRIM system in a closed mold.

A Lower-Cost Food Service Cart

In the 'Industrial' market category, RIM technology allowed Aladdin Temp-Rite LLC to offer a less expensive line of food-service carts and won the award. The RIM process encapsulates metal tubes, rods and other hardware with Bayer's material during the molding operation, cutting the labor time for each cart by more than 50 percent compared with similar stainless steel carts.

Aladdin's new Excel-CV Series of rethermalization carts for hospitals and correctional facilities is manufactured using the Baydur® 726 IBS polyurethane RIM system for the two doors and two side panels and the Bayflex® 110-80 polyurethane RIM system for the top and bottom platforms.

RIM Helps Device Clean-Up

The ErgoAire100 portable cleanroom literally cleaned up the 'Environmental' market category with a 100-percent RIM frame that is lightweight, yet boasts high structural integrity. The ErgoAire100 provides class 100 clean air to work surfaces in lieu of bulkier, less mobile equipment. Using Bayer's PRISM® CM-200 solid polyurethane RIM system, molder Rimnetics, of Mountain View, Calif., helped the designer develop his product with components utilizing hidden interior features, such as bosses, tracks and ribs, as well as varying wall thickness - a combination of design freedoms unique to RIM. Only a steel base plate with wheels was added to achieve a low center of gravity on the device.
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