Automotive polypropylene materials promote the lightweight development of the automotive industry

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In recent years, the regulation of environmental protection regulations has become more and more rigorous, and the transformation of automobiles into new energy sources has become inevitable. The demand for composite materials for automobiles will continue to increase. Under the background of lightweight development of automobiles, “plasticizing steel” is the trend of the times. Recently, Mitsui Chemicals plans to produce glass fiber reinforced polypropylene from the Anesaki plant in Japan for automotive interiors. The polypropylene composite production facility has a design capacity of 3,500 tons per year and is scheduled to be completed in September 2019.

In terms of automobile production, fiber reinforced resins will increasingly be used to replace metal materials. It is understood that the composite material made by melt-mixing polypropylene resin and long glass fiber, in addition to light weight, has a beautiful appearance and achieves a good balance between hardness and impact resistance. The product is currently used in unpainted automotive rear door trims.

Application of polypropylene in automotive interior

Plastics play an irreplaceable role in meeting the aesthetics, comfort, safety, anti-corrosion, lightweight and design freedom of automobiles. As one of the five general-purpose plastics, polypropylene can be obtained by modifying, toughening, filling, reinforcing, blending and other new materials. The modified polypropylene material has been widely used in automotive interiors.

For example, the dashboards currently used in automobiles can be divided into hard dashboards and semi-rigid dashboards. There are many materials to choose from for different models and designs. Semi-rigid instrument panels are used in medium and high-end cars. The 20% reinforced polypropylene fiberglass can be used as the skeleton and air duct material of semi-rigid instrument panels due to its good rigidity. In addition, automotive parts such as glove boxes, door guards, sub-dashboards, pillar guards, seat guards, and parcel guards can be made of modified polypropylene.

Mitsui Chemicals expands the market for polyethylene materials for overseas vehicles

With the continuous development of synthetic technology, polypropylene (PP) resin is widely used in various fields such as automobiles, home appliances, pipes, packaging, medical equipment, etc., especially in the automotive industry. The market outlook is very promising.

At the end of May, Mitsui Chemicals Co., Ltd. said it will continue to explore the overseas automotive materials market, especially in the European market. The company will invest 5 billion yen (about 45.5 million US dollars) in the Netherlands to build a new plastic raw material polypropylene plant for the production of car bumpers. It is understood that the annual production capacity of polypropylene in the new plant will reach 30,000 tons and is expected to be officially produced in June 2020. The new polypropylene plant will be Mitsui Chemicals' first polypropylene compound production facility in Europe to address the growing global demand from the automotive industry.

At the same time, Mitsui Chemicals will invest 18.4 million euros in the same region to set up a subsidiary engaged in the production and operation of advanced polypropylene composite materials, which will be mainly sold to European automakers. It is understood that Mitsui Chemicals has the second largest sales of polypropylene resin in the world, and has factories in seven countries including Japan, India and the United States. There is no direct business in Europe, and it is mainly commissioned. The production subsidiary will be its first production activity in Europe.

With the deepening of automotive lightweighting, the demand for high-performance resins with good heat resistance and impact resistance will increase significantly in Europe. Obviously this is a promising market and a key area for Mitsui Chemical's further development. Of course, Mitsui Chemicals will continue to increase its investment in other areas. For example, in Japan, China and the United States, Mitsui Chemical intends to expand its fiberglass reinforced polypropylene materials and is expected to complete its expansion plan by 2020. In addition, in the United States, Mitsui Chemicals is building a thermoplastic elastomer plant in Ohio with an annual capacity of 60,000 tons per year, which is expected to go into production in October 2019.

Moreover, Mitsui Chemicals places great emphasis on the automotive materials market. This year, Mitsui Chemicals has invested 30.1 billion yen in vehicle materials development and related mergers and acquisitions. With Mitsui Chemical entering the European market, it is expected that by 2025, a synergy of 3 billion to 5 billion yen will be generated, thereby achieving greater economic benefits.

Conclusion

In the past ten years, the application of plastics in automobiles has been greatly developed. Among the many plastic varieties used in automobiles, the development and application of various types of modified polypropylene materials in automobiles have increasingly become the focus of the automotive industry and the plastics industry. focus. Through various modified processing methods, modified polypropylene materials that meet the different functional requirements of various automotive parts can be obtained, and their excellent performance-price ratio enables various toughened, filled, and reinforced polypropylene materials to be obtained in the automotive industry. Widely used. This has deepened the development trend of automobile lightweighting to a certain extent, and also accelerated the pace of the era of “making plastics on behalf of steel”, which has far-reaching impact on the entire automobile industry. It is also because of the progressive trend of automotive lightweighting that the modified plastics are ushering in new development opportunities.

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