Accelerate and Reduce Carbon: Sumika and Hexagon Digitalize Auto-Grade Plastics Performance

  • 25-Jan-2023
  • Journalist: Jaideep

New Delhi: Hexagon and SPC Europe, a top provider of thermoplastic compounds, have joined forces to enhance the recyclability and reduced carbon footprint of automotive-grade polypropylene (PP) components. With this digitalization of PP materials, engineers can develop parts with better sustainability in mind.

Moreover, Sumika is showcased their green PP materials at PlastIndia 2023 event from 1-5 of February at Hall 3H booth F20 in Delhi. This initiative brings forth an optimistic outlook for greener alternatives soon.

Sumika Polymer Compounds has developed short glass-fibre Polypropylene (GF-PP) THERMOFIL HP and recycled (GF-rPP) THERMOFIL CIRCLE materials with sustainability in mind. The performance is the same or even greater than its incumbent engineering plastics, but with an admirable up to 60% lower carbon footprint.

Additionally, more PP components are recycled compared to polyamides (PA), of which a majority end up being disposed of in landfill or energy initiatives; however, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Sumika’s recycled PP compounds will diminish plastic waste when it reaches vehicle disposal and help support the circular economy.

Plastics are increasingly being used to replace metals in cars and can contribute up to 20% of the total weight. The need for lightweight components is heightened with the shift to eMobility, as it helps maximize energy efficiency and reduce the considerable weight of battery packs. However, product development teams must carefully consider the environmental performance of plastics throughout their entire lifecycle.

“With aggressive sustainability targets and an increased focus on recycled materials, there is growing demand from Indian automotive companies and OEMs for sustainable materials. However, adoption has been slow because getting an accurate understanding of the characteristics of recycled materials is often a difficult proposition. Our partnership with Sumika will help address this challenge to a large extent and boost adoption of sustainable materials in India,” Sridhar Dharmarajan, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Hexagon India, stated.

“Limited material behaviour data is a barrier to sustainable eMobility innovations because automotive engineering teams have not been able to put new materials through the rigorous virtual durability and safety tests required for automotive endorsement. Our unique multiscale material modelling technology accelerates the adoption of SPC Europe’s ground-breaking recycled materials by making it possible for product development teams to accurately simulate a component and subject it to established automotive engineering test and validation,” Guillaume Boisot, head of the Materials Centre of Excellence at Hexagon, stated.

A long-term partnership between two companies has resulted in the release of vital engineering data that enables product development teams to assess GF-PP compounds to reach carbon-neutral targets. This is achieved by replacing traditional engineering plastics.

“Our THERMOFIL short glass-fibre reinforced polypropylene compounds offer equivalent performance to traditional engineering plastics while providing a much lower carbon footprint, which makes them highly suitable to meet design challenges that sustainable eMobility brings. Combining our efforts with Hexagon allows us to support the race towards carbon neutrality by further lightweighting our customers’ automotive components, reducing physical material testing and prototyping,” Bruno Pendelio, marketing manager, SPC Europe, stated.

Hexagon and SPC Europe conducted a rigorous testing and physical validation programme to create precise multi-scale behavioural models of THERMOFIL HP grades and the THERMOFIL CIRCL portfolio of recycled PP grades. Each material grade had a model designed to forecast their mechanical and environmental performance throughout an object's lifespan.

Through Hexagon's Digimat software, SPC Europe customers can access encrypted proprietary material models. This software is compatible with popular CAE tools such as MSC Nastran and Marc, as well as third-party software, allowing engineers to utilize long-established digital engineering techniques to carry out precise analyses.

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