Despite positive properties such as low weight, high energy absorption and insulation, particle foam components have so far only been used to a limited extent in automobiles – after all, they had to cut back on surface quality and assembly options. Here, injection moulding (solid plastic) was advantageous, but in turn it scored negative points in terms of weight, energy absorption and insulation. The Kurtz THERMO FOAMER now brings together the best of both worlds, particle foam and injection moulding, by using the THERMO SELECT process as the upstream foaming process to create a material-locking bond between particle foam (EPP) and thermoplastic components (PP). The Kurtz Shape Moulding Machine uses 75% less steam, a special EPP part structure and a closed cooling system. The innovative Kurtz system thus enables the marriage of particle foam and injection moulding, resulting in the production of sophisticated precision parts with the highest surface quality in reproducible quality and large quantities. The areas of application for such demanding EPP products are diverse – in addition to automotive (body parts, vehicle interior), medical devices or electronic housings are also possible. It should be mentioned that EPP can be used to achieve a very good surface without the use of other materials – where “pure EPP” should not meet the requirements, PU flooding or foil covering are also available.
In the Asian market in particular, Kurtz Particle Foam Machines successfully placed this solution with EPP/PP composite parts as part of an OEM project with Sichuan Lidengwei Auto Parts Co., Ltd. in China´s Guang´an City. The product was developed jointly with business partner T. Michel Formenbau GmbH & Co. KG, tools specialist for particle foaming as well as process and component development. In concrete terms, this involves a door trim that combines lightweight construction, attractive appearance and functional elements such as side impact protection. Managing Director Zhong Yang sees great potential for the material-locking EPP/PP composite parts: “We are delighted with the solution developed for the automotive industry and are certain that many more applications will follow!”