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Asahi Kasei Thermylene Reduces Vehicle & Sunroof Weight

Enables Assembly and Process Innovations

 Asahi Kasei Plastics Thermylene® family of short-fiber polypropylene resins enabled a reduction in weight, assembly time and cost of an innovative sunroof module designed and built by Inalfa Roof Systems for the 2010 Cadillac CTS. The 1 square meter part is the automotive industry’s first fully integrated sunroof module made entirely from glass fiber reinforced PP and replacing long-glass PP and short-glass ASA/PBT while meeting OEM requirements.

The material innovation resulted in a 12% weight reduction, a 24% savings in component cost and a 47% savings in capital costs.

“The Cadillac sunroof module is a perfect example of the many potential benefits afforded by this resin technology,” said Ramesh Iyer, Director of Business Development at Asahi Kasei Plastics. “The Thermylene® family of resins provides long-fiber performance properties with the weight, cost and processing advantages of short-fiber resin technology.”

Nominated for an award in the Process, Assembly and Enabling Technologies category of the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Program in 2010, the sunroof module replaces a four-part assembly consisting of metal, glass-fiber reinforced ASA/PBT and long-fiber reinforced PP with a single short glass polypropylene frame. Thermylene® P7-45FG-0790 assisted in lowering module weight and reduced molding cycle time by 15 seconds. The elimination of the four-piece assembly operation saved an additional 67 seconds.

“The innovative design of the sunroof module was achieved by a team effort involving General Motors and all the suppliers,” said Iyer. In addition to Asahi Kasei Plastics and systems supplier Inalfa Roof Systems, the supply team also included material processor NS Technologies Group and tooling supplier Datrin Industry Co. Ltd.

About Asahi Kasei Plastics

Asahi Kasei Plastics provides customized resin solutions worldwide to multiple markets. The Michigan based company, with 180 employees, is one of the largest Asahi Kasei facilities outside of Japan and is expanding sales globally, in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, China, India and Europe. They are in the top 5% of compounding companies in the United States and one of the largest glass filled PP (polypropylene) compounders in the world.

Asahi Kasei Plastics is a leading custom compounder of advanced engineered polymers. Their brands, including LEONA(TM) and THERMYLON® nylons, THERMYLENE® polypropylenes, TENAC(TM) acetals and XYRON(TM) modified PPE are solving complex engineering problems. Their markets include automotive, commercial transportation, furniture, pool and spa, water treatment, electrical/electronics, and power generation including performance polymers for electric vehicle batteries, solar panels and wind energy applications.

Asahi Kasei Plastics is a wholly owned subsidiary of Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corporation (AKCC). AKCC is a leading producer of high performance engineered thermoplastics, petrochemicals and monomers. Their product portfolio serves a diverse range of markets including energy, performance coatings, consumer products, home construction & materials, health care and others. Globally, Asahi Kasei has over 18 billion dollars in annual sales and nearly 30,000 employees worldwide.

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