Attractive Plastics Help the Ford F-150 Scoop Prestigious Award

Contemporary automotive design has seen the growing importance of the lamp bezel as a key styling feature. Whether the demand is for metallic, textured or body-color, SABIC Innovative Plastics' broad portfolio of special effects resins offers an expanding selection of materials to help designs stand out from the competition.

The mirror-bright rear lighting bezels on Ford Motor Company’s F-150 truck enhance driving safety and style. Automotive Components Holding (ACH) replaced an existing polybutylene terephthalate resin with Valox* V2000DM PBT resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics for improved results in direct metallization. Using this specialty material with unique release properties, ACH achieved exceptional surface quality and gloss.

Direct metallization of molded plastic parts are a widely used process for creating stunning lightweight lighting bezels. As Ford Motor Company was designing the direct metallized rear bezel for the 2009 North American Truck of the Year award-winning Ford F-150, the company together with Automotive Components Holding, LLC, selected SABIC Innovative Plastics’ Valox* V2000DM PBT resin for its stylish, metallic-looking rear lamp bezel.

“SABIC Innovative Plastics has a long history of working with the world’s first automakers to replace glass with today’s unique and exciting new thermoplastic lens designs,” said Jim Wilson, marketing director, SABIC Innovative Plastics. “Today, achieving brilliantly shiny, reflective bezels for automotive lighting is critical for driving efficiency and style. Ford set the bar very high for the F-150 rear bezel, and our Valox V2000DM resin rose to the challenge. This resin does an excellent job replicating a highly polished tool surface and delivers parts with an exceptional mirror-like shine after metallization. SABIC Innovative Plastics takes pride in working side-by-side with customers like Ford and Automotive Components Holdings to help them achieve success.”

Metallized Parts Shine Brighter with Valox V2000DM Resin

The direct metallization process involves vacuum deposition of a thin aluminum layer onto an injection-molded part. Challenges inherent in direct metallization include achieving exceptional surface finish for the as-molded part. This is necessary because the ultra-thin aluminum layer cannot disguise underlying surface defects.

SABIC Innovative Plastics’ Valox V2000DM resin is engineered with a unique formulation so that molded parts can closely replicate a highly polished tool while maintaining a wide processing window and enhanced de-molding. As a result, the molded parts provide high gloss and near-flawless smoothness prior to metallization.

Low Tool Deposit Helps Avoid Processing Delays

The same technology essential to high-quality surface finish also enables the Valox resin to help minimize tool deposit, or mold plate-out, common to polyester materials. Tool deposit, resulting from condensation of additives and other constituents on the tool surface, demands periodic tool cleaning in order to ensure consistent part aesthetics.

Direct Metallization Enables Recycling

An important environmental benefit of the direct metallization process is the ability to recycle scrap, short shots and other waste plastic from the molding process. Because Valox V2000DM resin provides such a high-quality surface finish, it does not require painting or coating to improve aesthetics prior to metallization. Therefore, scrap can be reground and reused instead of being land filled.

Lightweight Valox Resin Contributes to Fuel Economy

The 2009 Ford F-150 improved its fuel economy by an average of 8 percent across the entire lineup, thanks to a wide range of engineering enhancements. One contributing factor was weight reduction. The use of plastics to replace traditional materials can provide significant weight-out without sacrificing performance.

In addition to being honored as the North American Truck of the Year, the new F-150 has been named 2009 Motor Trend Truck of the Year and Best Overall Half-Ton Pickup by PickupTrucks.com among many accolades.

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