Lighter Weight, Greater Durability for Luxury Vehicles

The Challenge

A leading supplier of advanced automotive technologies approached Avient to create a new olefinic material for an HVAC damper. The part would remove weight and withstand copper deposits in a luxury vehicle for an exclusive German automaker. HVAC doors are typically produced by injection molding two parts that provide structural strength and air sealing performance. However, in this case, designers wanted to reduce the thickness of the part wall significantly to achieve a relative weight saving of 90 percent. In addition to the lighter weight requirement, the material needed to resist warpage after molding, a common issue for thin walled plastic parts.

The Solution

Avient engineered a new customized formulation for the part using Maxxam™ Polyolefin Formulations. Maxxam™ formulations are based on polypropylene and polyethylene resins and can be filled and reinforced to satisfy the required performance characteristic.

The Impact

Designers were able to achieve a relative weight saving of 90 percent without compromising performance. This formulation provided both the processability required for extremely short cycle injection-compression molding, as well as including an additive to stabilize the material when in contact with copper. This additive will protect the door from cracking as it comes into contact with copper particles over time. In addition, the new material provides anti-static properties and low VOC levels, which helps the system adhere to regulations such as the Vehicle Interior Air Quality (VIAQ) standard.