Hexion, a leading global manufacturer of thermoset resins, and the Fraunhofer Project Center, which houses production scale parts-making and processing equipment as well as materials experts, have collaborated since 2013 on bringing high-performance materials and processing technologies to automotive manufacturers. These materials and technologies enable automakers to fabricate lighter-weight, higher-strength parts, reducing overall vehicle weight and improving gas mileage and performance. The collaboration has been successful in taking composite solutions into commercial use.
“This new agreement enables us to continue our work with the Fraunhofer Project Center to support applications development using high volume composite manufacturing technologies,” said Stephen Greydanus, Hexion’s manager of automotive application development and technical support. “As automakers seek to lighten vehicle weights, using new composite technologies to replace steel and other heavier materials is increasingly critical to vehicle design and production.”
The Fraunhofer Project Center enables Hexion to work with major automotive manufacturers to test materials and produce parts in a production-scale environment. Hexion has several engineers in residence at the facility, focused on helping automakers develop, test and integrate the latest technologies and materials into their new vehicle platforms. A network of prototype specialists, tool makers and testing firms also collaborate with Hexion and the Fraunhofer Project Center in this work.
Using its state-of-the-art resin systems from the EPIKOTETM Resin TRAC and EPIKURETM Curing Agent TRAC 6000 series, Hexion has collaborated with the Fraunhofer Project Center across a range of composite manufacturing technologies including high-pressure resin transfer molding, liquid compression molding, sheet mold compounding, preforming and injection molding. Working with the Fraunhofer Project Center, Hexion has perfected rapid cycle time production of large parts for heat-resistant under-hood applications using its BAKELITE® engineering thermosets. New product developments address the trend towards electrification of vehicles.
The Fraunhofer Project Center is located on the campus of Western University and is a joint venture between the university and the Fraunhofer Institute of Chemical Technology based in Pfinztal, Germany.