Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, today announced that its proprietary XAP® low-emission technology for Hostaform® acetal copolymer (POM) is helping automakers achieve their global engineering emission standards for molded parts located in a vehicle’s interior.
“Driven by international legislation, air quality in automobiles is receiving renewed focus. Celanese is helping to set the global standard for low-emission engineered materials with its Hostaform® XAP® and XAP2™ POM grades that help the auto industry reduce part emissions in vehicles,” said Scott Klingler, Celanese global original equipment manufacturer (OEM) manager.
Hostaform is an ideal engineered material for automotive interiors, which has led one of the world’s largest automakers to identify Celanese’s Hostaform as the preferred material in a specification standard for POM. Hostaform UV270Z XAP2 meets OEM performance requirements for automotive cockpit applications with a combination of:
- high flow;
- UV stability;
- scratch resistance;
- impact strength.
One automotive interior application for the use of this Celanese engineered material is speaker grills. Hostaform UV270Z XAP2 can be injection molded in one shot, and then snap-fitted or ultrasonically inserted in the support element. One recent set of front and rear door speaker grills posed specific challenges since they required a perfect fusion of function and form to ensure excellent sound transmission, as well as aesthetics.
“This grill pattern design, with its small and thin pattern and small and tight holes, pushed the material and processing envelope,” said Craig Dlugos, Celanese application development engineer. “The engineered material needed a high-flow characteristic because the small design created significant sheer and molding issues.”
Another challenge involved color matching. The Celanese color technology team needed to adapt the formulation to match interior colors without losing any of the low-emission properties. Formulating a color-matched material to meet the OEM color approval process required numerous formulation iterations and molding trials,” said Bruce Mulholland, Celanese global color technology manager. “The hole pattern in these particular speaker grills significantly changed the appearance of these colors in the actual part.”
Colorants were specifically selected to match each color. All colors were approved with the first submission in plaque form to the design studio. The challenge came in translating a solid molded plaque to a speaker grill with hundreds of holes on the appearance surface. Offsets to the official master were developed in the laboratory and trialed in the actual part until part appearance approval was achieved.
“Part placement in the vehicle was also challenging for these colors,” added Mulholland. “Color harmony in the vehicle had to be achieved between solid plastic trim, soft leather trim and these speaker grilles with holes and curvature.”
Additional automobile applications
The latest XAP2 technology of low-emission Hostaform POM products from Celanese is an excellent material for parts in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Components such as door modules or seatbelt pre-tensioning systems increasingly call for low-emission materials. Other potential applications include head rests and lumbar support, fastening solutions in the door area and trim for door elements, instrument panels and center consoles.
“Celanese is a leading supplier of low-emission engineered materials thanks to Hostaform POM with its XAP technology,” said Stefan Kutta, Celanese global director, Transportation. “We are supporting this global trend for more stringent requirements in China, Europe and the Americas with the largest low-emission product offering available today.”