Posted in | Plastics and Polymers

DuPont Engineering Polymers Feature in New Lightweight and Highly Practical Stroller

The BABYZEN stroller designed by the French company Advanced Baby Concepts (ABC) and with engineering support of Scalea Innovation, is a new and innovative foldable stroller with a focus on comfort, practicality and safety.

Ultra-flat when collapsed, and weighing under 10 kilograms, the stroller’s chassis contains over 80 components moulded from DuPont engineering polymers. DuPont™ Delrin® acetal resin, DuPont™ Zytel® nylon and DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA are the materials used for many of the functional and structural parts of the BABYZENÔ, providing benefits such as high strength and stiffness, low wear and low friction performance and excellent processability.

Distributed by RECARO GmbH (under the co-branding of BabyZen by Recaro) in 37 countries across Europe and Middle East in summer 2010, the BABYZENÔ was designed with the purpose of providing parents and children (from birth to 20 kg) with luxury and functionality combined with the greatest operating comfort and safety. As a result the stroller has a patented, single-hand folding mechanism, allowing the stroller to be folded and unfolded again in a matter of seconds. Once collapsed, the BABYZENÔ is just 25 centimetres deep (including the seat and folded wheels), making it easier to fit into the boot of some of the smallest urban cars. The stroller weighs less than 10 kilograms and can be easily pulled along in its folded state, with two wheels on the handle bar acting as trolley wheels. Providing for the safety of parent and child is a patented safety warning light.

Starting with an all-metal prototype in 2007, the design team invited DuPont to work with them from an early stage to look at which parts could be feasibly made using engineering polymers. “When developing the BABYZENÔ, we wanted to create the market’s first premium branded stroller, and to therefore select from the best materials available,” recalls Julien Chaudeurge, CEO of Advanced Baby Concepts SAS. “We chose DuPont as our material supplier because of the truly technical nature of our design.”

As a result of this partnership, the launch model of the BABYZENÔ now includes over 80 components made of either Delrin®, Zytel® or Zytel® HTN. This includes numerous cams, pinions and shafts used within the stroller’s patented folding mechanism – unobtrusively hidden within the chassis of the stroller – which are made of dimensionally-stable, fatigue- and creep-resistant Delrin®, whose low-noise behaviour in components coming into contact with other parts was also key. Parts made with glass-reinforced Zytel® include the brake pedals, swivels arms of the wheels, the seat-base, footrest and handlebar, where the nylon’s renowned strength and stiffness came to the fore. “As a principle, those parts requiring functional performance such as abrasion resistance, low wear and low friction as well as high mechanical strength and rigidity are made with Delrin®,” summarises Laurent Hanen, development consultant at DuPont Performance Polymers. “Those components with a greater emphasis on structural performance, where polymers can provide a more cost-effective alternative to metal, are moulded from Zytel® or, in the case of some gears, Zytel® HTN.”

Production of the BABYZENÔ, and its subsequent assembly, is undertaken by an ABC- dedicated supplier in Hong Kong, where the company has built a dedicated plant. As with any new pushchair, the BABYZENÔ must comply with the European Standard EN 1888:2003. Amongst the stringent testing conducted on the BABYZENÔ in line with the standard, the stroller’s dynamic strength and durability and the quality of its construction is put through its paces. This includes, for example, passing the stroller over an irregular test surface 72,000 times at a speed of 5 km/h to test how it will stand up to a life of uneven pavements, potholes and kerbs. The high performance of the DuPont resins used in the BABYZENÔ ensured that the stroller, and specifically the components moulded from them, achieved compliance.

“DuPont helped us a lot to develop this innovative design,” concludes Julien Chaudeurge. “Their help included advice on the choice of the optimum resin for the parts, design guidance for rapid, trouble-free moulding, mould flow analysis and finite element analysis. We have been delighted with their support from the start of the project through to its completion.”

The DuPont Performance Polymers business manufactures and sells Crastin® PBT and Rynite® PET thermoplastic polyester resins, Delrin® acetal resins, Hytrel® thermoplastic polyester elastomers, DuPont™ ETPV engineering thermoplastic vulcanizates, Minlon® mineral reinforced nylon resins, Neoprene polychloroprene, Tynex® filaments, Vespel® parts and shapes, Kalrez® perfluoroelastomer parts, Vamac® ethylene acrylic elastomers (AEM), Viton® fluoroelastomers, Viton® FreeFlow™ processing aids, Zytel® nylon resins and Zytel® HTN high-performance polyamides. These products serve global markets in the aerospace, appliance, automotive, consumer, electrical, electronic, healthcare, industrial, sporting goods and many other diversified industries.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in approximately 80 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

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