PULSE™ GX50 BMW i3 case study
Creating a breakthrough PC/ABS solution with low-gloss surface characteristics for automotive interiors.
Trinseo is proud to be a reliable materials and innovation partner for BMW and their suppliers around the world. When tier 1 supplier Eugen Wexler Group (EuWe) opened a new plant in the U.S. in 2016, we had the opportunity to provide PULSE™ GX50 PC/ABS as well as MAGNUM™ 3904 ABS for the production of a range of BMW X3 interior trim parts.
Of particular interest to the OEM was our PULSE™ PC/ABS grade GX50. EuWe used this product to manufacture D-pillar trim and latching trim parts for the BMW X3 trunk as a result of its excellent low gloss and low density. The OEM and supplier also benefited from our technical service for material and part quality optimization.
Trinseo's MAGNUM™ 3904 ABS was used for the trunk's loading sill cover. The medium heat ABS met the OEM’s specific requirements, such as low VOC/odor and high impact resistance. MAGNUM™ 3904 is renowned for its ultra-high impact resistance – one of the highest in the market. It offers a Melt Flow Rate of 4.5 g/10min (220°C/10kg) and a Notched Izod of 4.3 ft-lb/in. This extrusion ABS is apppreciated for its excellent colorability and processability, making it an outstanding choice for a variety of automotive interior applications from interior trim parts up to large-sized parts in commercial transportation.
For more than four decades, the EuWe Group has produced high-tech plastic products for the automotive sector. In 2016, the tier launched a new plant in the U.S. to support its key customer BMW. EuWe Group contacted Trinseo's Hartmut Brombach, Sr. Application Development Manager, and Jeff Nunn, Sr. Research & Development Specialist. In addition to Trinseo materials, the tier requested our assistance in processing to achieve highly aesthetic aparts.
Our colleagues have a great depth of experience with BMW projects and have successfully collaborated with the OEM and its tiers. The supplier requested suitable material for trunk trim applications in the new BMW X3, which is built in the OEM's factory in Spartanburg, SC, USA. In addition to MAGNUM™ 3904 ABS for the loading sill cover, the PULSE™ GX series PC/ABS offered the right features for our customer's X3 project.
EuWe Group knows PULSE™ GX50 as an easy flowing, medium heat PC/ABS resin that provides outstanding low density of 1.09 g/cm3 (ISO 1183/B) and excellent low gloss. Our customer appreciates the density advantage supporting the production of lightweight applications, resulting in more parts per ton. Additional cost-efficiency potential is based on PULSE™ GX50's easy flow for reduced scrap, faster cycle times, and thinner wall designs for mass reduction. The excellent low gloss enabled EuWe Group to produce visible, unpainted trim parts. PULSE™ GX50 is known for its consistent natural white color base, which enables high-quality part appearance when used with color concentrates (self-coloring) or Trinseo Color Masterbatch Technology.
Originally, the BMW X3 trunk latching trim and D-pillar trim parts were meant to be painted after molding. Contrary to the initial approach, the OEM and tier needed to achieve a highly functional and aesthetic application without an additional painting step. "We delivered PULSE™ GX50 and the customer molded the first test parts with our PC/ABS Engineering Resins, achieving mostly satisfactory results. However, the tier's engineers found that the gloss performance in curves of the D-pillar trim part wasn't optimal," Jeff Nunn reports. "I worked on and suggested changes to the molding process. These collaborative modifications of the injection molding process allowed EuWe Group to produce the required high-quality and aesthetically pleasing parts."
A unique feature of the PULSE™ GX PC/ABS blends is the integrated low-gloss surface characteristic, which means the usual painting step for PC/ABS components can be eliminated, offering weight as well as cost saving potential. This approach has been successfully demonstrated for the first time for numerous interior components in the BMW i3 Series. (Learn more in our technical report, see related stories.) Since then, PULSE™ GX50 has often proved to meet even the highest aesthetic and performance requirements of both painted and unpainted applications. The material is approved against BMW specification GS 93016.
For more information on this case, please contact Jeff Nunn, Trinseo Sr. Research & Development Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Hartmut Brombach, Sr. Application Development Manager at email@example.com
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