The 2011 Ford Fusion and its sister model, the Mercury Milan, are sporting the first cost efficient “green” solution steering wheel bezels molded in North America thanks to Ticona patented MetaLX™ technology that produces metal-effect polymers.
“Prior to the 2011 model changeover, Ford and its supplier structure decided to make a material switch to Hostaform® LX90Z from the painted and top-coated injection molded PC/ABS substrate, which was previously used in the left and right trim pieces that wrap around the buttons for the stereo and cruise control,” said Jason Lipke, product marketing manager Hostaform/Celcon® POM, Ticona. “This switch eliminated paint waste/volatile organic chemicals, painted part scrap and associated environmental impact fees, resulting in an estimated cost savings per vehicle of more than 20 percent.”
The MetaLX line of appearance-focused engineering thermoplastics from Ticona can reduce costs and eliminate chemical pollutants associated with painting and, at the same time, achieve the aesthetics of a metallic look. MetaLX metal-effect polymers:
* Offer excellent mechanical performance
* Retain color after UV light and thermal exposure
* Deliver desired surface appearance and textures (replicates mold surface)
* Provide resistance to stains, scratches, wear (durability) and most chemicals and cleaners
* Match, or complement, mating metal parts
* Stay non-thermally conductive and ?ngerprint resistant unlike metal
Ford Motor Company and key members of its supplier structure Tier One supplier Takata Corp., mold maker Eclipse Mold and Ticona implemented the switch to Hostaform LX90Z in less than six months following molding trials that justified the cost of building a new mold for the steering wheel bezel parts.
“Basically, we were very successful with the existing prototype mold,” Lipke said. “By implementing recommendations based on Ticona’s know-how, we achieved the desired appearance and stayed within the styling and packaging constraints. The updated mold went into production in August.”
In addition to the cost savings aspect, Lipke said the new molded in-color (MIC) aesthetic parts meet stringent appearance and wear/use requirements for automotive interior components.
“This is one of the first parts in North America to be molded in a MetaLX metal-effect polymer,” Lipke said. “But the MetaLX metal-effect in Hostaform also has helped produce the bright, metallic-look door handles that appear on the current European version of the Honda Accord.”
The MetaLX metal-effect polymers are available in Hostaform/Celcon acetal copolymer (POM), Celanex® thermoplastic polyester (PBT), Rite?ex® thermoplastic polyester elastomer (TPC-ET) and Vectra® liquid crystal polymer (LCP). MetaLX metal-effects grades include un?lled, glass-reinforced, flame retardant glass-reinforced and elastomeric.
About Ticona and Celanese
Ticona, the engineering polymers business of Celanese Corporation, produces and markets a broad range of high performance products, and posted net sales of $808 million in fiscal 2009. Ticona employs more than 1,450 individuals at production, compounding and research facilities in the USA, Germany, Brazil and China. For more information, please visit www.ticona.com or www.ticona.cn (Chinese language).
Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of specialty materials and chemical products which are used in most major industries and consumer applications. Our products, essential to everyday living, are manufactured in North America, Europe and Asia. Known for operational excellence, sustainability and premier safety performance, Celanese delivers value to customers around the globe with best-in-class technologies. Based in Dallas, Texas, the company employs approximately 7,400 employees worldwide and had 2009 net sales of $5.1 billion, with approximately 73% generated outside of North America. For more information about Celanese Corporation and its global product offerings, visit www.celanese.com.
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