Inapal Plásticos, Continental Structural Plastics’ operations in Portugal, will be manufacturing a number of lightweight, low-density sheet molded compound (SMC) components for a premium luxury auto maker’s first SUV. These 11 components, ranging from under hood to underbody and Class A components, will reduce part complexity and overall vehicle weight.
By molding the complex radiator assembly frame in a low-density composite material, the OEM was able to minimize the number of parts required under the hood, significantly reducing assembly complexity and weight. Such parts are traditionally steel or aluminum and require multiple stamped components to be assembled to create the final product. Further, the SMC allows for the molding of complex shapes and deep draws, enabling CSP to create a finished assembly that fits the dramatic and distinctive styling of the vehicle.
The vehicle’s tailgate, molded in low-density, Class A SMC, is finished by CSP with a conductive primer before being shipped to the customer. This Class A SMC is e-coat oven capable, giving the customer the freedom to paint the tailgate in-house with the rest of the vehicle.
“Because this vehicle is the first SUV to be manufactured by this particular automaker, there are no direct comparisons to provide exact weight savings afforded by the use of low-density SMC,” said Orlando Rebelo, program manager at Inapal Plásticos. “But it is safe the say the weight savings will be significant and will contribute to the luxury performance customers will expect from this vehicle.”
The components will be manufactured at the CSP facilities in Leça, and Palmela, Portugal.
SOURCE: Continental Structural Plastics