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Four Innovative Products Molded with Bayer Polyurethane RIM Systems Win New Product Design Awards at the 2002 Structural Plastics Conference

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 03 May, 2002  (Company News)
For the second consecutive year, structural plastic parts molded with polyurethane reaction injection molding (RIM) systems from Bayer Corporation won four awards in the New Product Design Recognition at the annual conference of the Structural Plastics Division of the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI).
These and 13 other winning parts were among 55 plastic parts used in structural applications in a variety of markets that were judged during the 30th annual conference in Dearborn, Mich., April 14-16.

Each of the winning parts highlights several strengths of the polyurethane RIM process in molding large, structural parts:

lightweight and high strength
high-quality surface finish
ability to utilize in-mold coating technology to eliminate secondary painting operations and reduce costs
low-pressure and low-temperature molding process
lower-cost tooling materials, such as aluminum or nickel

In the Environmental products category, agricultural equipment maker John Deere, Moline, Ill., and molder G.I. Plastek, Newburyport, Mass., won the best new product award for an access door for John Deere harvester combines. The access door is mounted on the rear of combines to provide easy access to the engine area. It is molded with the Baydur® 730S IBS structural foam polyurethane RIM system from Bayer's Polyurethanes Division, which uses soybean-oil in the RIMsystem's resin componentin place of some of the conventional petrochemical materials.

In fact, the material consumes 14 pounds of soybeans for each access door. Bayer believes this is the first commercial application of a soy-based formulation in a high-density structural foam polyurethane RIM system. The material matches the conventional Baydur 730 IBS RIM system in physical properties and processing parameters.

The soy-based Baydur material is structurally stiff enough that it does not require any secondary reinforcement across the part, such as ribbing or metal braces. The molded access door meets a structural performance specification requiring that the hinged part be capable of opening up to 30 degrees. The size of the part, which is nearly 6 feet tall by approximately 3 feet wide, and the demand for a Class A surface quality at a competitive price, made polyurethane RIM the most viable option, according to G.I. Plastek. The door is molded in a single-cavity nickel shell tool.

Enhancing the appearance of the part is the proprietary ProTekTM In-Mold Coating System of G.I. Plastek, which applies the distinctive green finish to the part while inside the mold. This process is significantly more cost effective than post-painting the part.

Getting a Handle on Better Freezer Doors

In the Electrical market category, the Impact InnovatorTM Glass Door from Hussmann Corporation, Bridgeton, Mo., grabbed the new product prize for its improvements in doors for refrigerated display cases in grocery stores and convenience stores. It is an electrically heated, multi-pane glass freezer door with an elastomeric polyurethane RIM frame. Hussmannis a subsidiary of Ingersoll- Rand.

Hussmann said these glass doors traditionally are assembled from extruded aluminum profiles, which are mitered and screwed together at the corners. Anti-sweat heaters must be used to prevent condensation when the doors are opened and closed by consumers. This design is labor-intensive, lacks rigidity and is expensive to operate due to the electricity consumption of the anti-sweat heaters.

Hussmann uses Bayer's Bayflex® XGT-16 elastomeric polyurethane RIM system to form the doorframe and chemically bond the triple-pane insulating glass window assembly to the molded frame. The resulting frame is seamless, strong and significantly less thermally conductive than aluminum. The Bayflex material provides the primary seal against moisture infiltration into the insulating air space. Post-mold shrinkage of the Bayflex material ensures solid contact of the copper foil busbars that bring electrical power to the door's heated glass.

The molding operation also uses the insert molding abilities of the RIM process to mold in hinge bearings, reinforcements and the electrical key.

Medical Product Includes One of Largest-Known Single- Shot RIM PartsIn the Medical product category, ThiemeCorporation, St. Charles, Ill., pushed the boundaries of RIM technology to mold what it believes is one of the largest-known single-shot RIM parts. The new product winner is the assembled enclosure for a computer tomograph (CT) device. When the 12 RIM parts are assembled, the enclosure is more than 94 inches wide, 74 inches tall and 39 inches deep. The parts use a rib design by Thieme that, when assembled, provides support and rigidity that allows the entire CT unit to be moved when assembled.

The rear panel of the enclosure, shaped like the let ter 'O,' weighs 74 pounds and is 2200mm by 1700mm. Thieme used the polyurethane RIM process, computer-aided design and numerous finite element analyses to determine strategic, unique rib designs for adequate support and rigidity. Panels of this size and complexity generally would be split in to two parts, requiring two tools and assembly steps, Thieme said. Molding the part in a single shot reduced costs.

'Manufacturing th e parts with polyurethane RIM enabled the OEM to realize consistent part dimensions, reliability and quality over traditional methods such as fiberglass,' said Thieme. 'Molding-in assembly aids such as holes, ribs and attachment bosses and metal inserts reduced part, tooling and assembly costs.'

The 12 parts are molded in Europe with Bayer AG's Baydurâ 110 polyurethane RIM system. This material is ideal for medical, computer, and electronic housings. The material features strength,excellent surface finish and large-part capability. A polyurethane RIM system with similar properties is available from Bayer for the NAFTA market.

RIM Tractor Parts Haul Away Judges Award

In a clear demonstration of new in-mold coating technology married to the polyurethane RIM process, molder G.I. Plastek and manufacturer AGCO Corporation, Duluth, Ga., hauled away the Judges' Award for the fenders, HVAC cover and outer roof of th eChallengerâ farming tractor. Molding of the elastomeric and structural foam polyurethane RIM parts incorporates a two-stage in-mold coating process that applies not only the yellow base coat but also a clearcoat finish.

AGCO Corporation wanted to clear-coat all plastic and metal exterior trim pieces in this new tractor product for i mproved weathering and gloss retention performance. G.I. Plastek said it developed an innovative two-stage process for its proprietary Pro-Tek In-Mold Coating System in which a specially formulated clear coating is applied first to the open mold cavity, followed by the pigmented 'top' coat layer. The result is a part with improved gloss retention and weathering properties, dramatically improved distinctness of image (DOI), and only marginally increased cost, according to G.I. Plastek.

G.I. Plastek molds the parts with Bayer's Bayflex 110-50 elastomeric polyurethane RIM system and Baydur 730 IBS structural foam polyurethane RIM system. Nickel shell molds with hydraulically actuated core pulls produce parts with and without such features as light openings and mud flap mounting holes.

'The judge's selection of these winning new products not only endorses the creativity and ingenuity of the manufacturers, designers and molders, but also the strength of the polyurethane RIM process as an ideal material solution for a variety of structural applications,' said Harry George, Manager of Specialty RIM Materials for Bayer's Polyurethanes Division.
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