Case Studies

INSPIRE™ TF1500 ESU and our expertise won Volvo SPA platform

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Reliable high quality material and impressing service

Long-term business partners, Volvo and Trinseo collaborated in numerous projects using our materials for high quality automotive applications. We supported Volvo both with our performance polymer INSPIRE™ TF1500 ESU and with impressive technical service for interior applications in their current Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform.

INSPIRE™ TF1500 ESU will be used for interior trunk trim parts in the new SPA models, such as the Volvo XC, V, and S90 as well as the XC60. We also look forward to collaborate with our partners for the upcoming Compact Model Architecture (CMA) platform from Volvo.

With our talc-filled polypropylene we have a very strong position at Volvo. This is the result of both excellent product features as well as the good experience our partners made with our technological expertise and our technical development service in previous projects.

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Approved against the specifications of major OEMs, our talc-filled, high impact PP compound has been developed for lightweight aesthetic automotive interior parts such as mid-consoles, door panels and a wide range of trim applications mainly requiring high UV light stabilization, superior scratch resistance, and a low gloss level. INSPIRE™ TF1500 ESU is renowned for its ductility even at low temperatures as a result of its high impact resistance.

Volvo appreciates its aesthetic performance as a main differentiator compared to competitive products. INSPIRE™ TF1500 ESU facilitates a precise reproduction of the mold texture enabling a high quality surface of the final part.

Technical support as a differentiator

The features and benefits of our material played an important part. The technical support of our Application and Engineering Design Center (AEDC) was another relevant reason.

Our partner was impressed by the successful troubleshooting and support of our AEDC team a few years ago for the production of an interior door panel. Tier 1 supplier IAC was occasionally facing so-called „ghost marks“ on highly aesthetic surfaces of the application. These “ghost marks” are visual defects on the surface that are visible only under a specific, shallow viewing angle. Neither the Trinseo material nor competitor grades could be identified as the cause for these surface defects. Trinseo was asked for support and posed the hypothesis that the molten polymer core possibly deformed the frozen texture's micro-texture due to abrupt changes of the polymer's filling direction. After various analyses and simulations, we were able to support this root cause and could suggest helpful modifications based on this understanding.

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The average velocity plot shows the polymer compound's flow direction and speed at the instant when the gate opens.

As reported by the toolmaker and the molder, the flow front’s direction abruptly changed at the beginning of the parts packing phase in the instant before the filling was completed. The process simulations showed the root causes for the two different visual defects: one during the filling stage, the other during the packing phase of the molding process. Trinseo suggested an alternative gating scenario with only three instead of five gates to adjust the polymer orientation in the filling stage.

It has also been suggested applying a modified packing profile that allowed for a larger frozen layer before putting a higher packing pressure on the central visual defect as well as using a delayed gate opening in the packing phase to overcome the second visual defect. 

Realizing that two parts were molded at the same time and each of all gates affected each other in view of pressure and other parameters, alternative hot-runner techniques offered a smoother introduction of pressures to the cavities while a profiled, gradually reduced holding pressure helped to reduce the deformation of the micro-texture in the defined problem areas.

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Trinseo solutions are more than a material

The way our AEDC understood the problem and successfully provided support for the optimization of the filling and packing phases of the molding process impressed Volvo. It was a main driver for our partners to use INSPIRE™ TF1500 ESU for current and upcoming projects. "Our customers appreciate the fact that we offer a complete solution: We provide high quality material in combination with our technical support." explains René Kruidenier, TS&D at Trinseo, "Like all our customers, Volvo benefits from the fact that our AEDC can define process parameters for materials, provide ideas on applications, demonstrate the projected appearance of the end-product, and suggest options to improve their design or processing. We helped to reduce project lead times and financial risks to our customer's application development trajectory."

Reach out to our team if you like to know more about INSPIRE™ or the technical support we can provide to your own projects:

René Kruidenier, Application Development Specialist,
via email to rkruidenier@trinseo.com

Simon van Hille, Technical Service and Development,
via email to svanhille@trinseo.com

Mark Goggins, Key Account Manager,
via email to mgoggins@trinseo.com 

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