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DSM’s Akulon Ultraflow polyamide 6 used by Miniature Precision Components for hybrid electric engine covers

Singapore, SG, 17 Mar 2014 14:30 CET

More producers of automotive engine covers are switching to DSM’s Akulon® Ultraflow glass and mineral reinforced polyamide 6. They are being won over by its industry-leading properties that result in excellent surface appearance and outstanding processing. Miniature Precision Components, in Walworth, WI, is the latest processor to adopt this highly cost-effective material, for covers used on hybrid electric engines.
Akulon® Ultraflow polyamide 6 used by Miniature Precision Components for hybrid electric engine covers

Compared to other grades of polyamide 6, Akulon Ultraflow polyamide 6 offers up to 80% improved flow and enables cycle time reductions of 15% up to 40%. Such substantial reductions are achieved through a combination of shorter injection- and holding pressure times, faster crystallization speed, and the option to use processing temperatures 30 to 40°C lower than competing polyamides—which allows cooling time to be cut. The net result is higher productivity and lower system costs. Furthermore, wall thicknesses can be cut by as much as 20%. The excellent flow properties of Akulon Ultraflow have minimal effect on its mechanical properties, which remain in line with those of more conventional reinforced polyamides.

Miniature Precision Components is a recognized leader in the innovative design and production of world-class thermoplastic parts for the automotive industry. It wanted best-in-class dimensional stability and flatness for engine covers that are used at the world’s top automobile companies. Mold filling simulation studies indicated that Akulon Ultraflow K-FHGM24, a polyamide 6 with 10% glass fiber reinforcement and 20% mineral filler, specifically developed by DSM for this type of application, would produce parts with significantly lower warp than other glass reinforced, mineral filled nylons. Computer simulations predicting Akulon would demonstrate improved dimensional stability proved to be accurate in the initial molding trials. Miniature Precision Components and DSM approached the OEM together to obtain approval for the material, which was quickly granted.

The high dimensional stability of Akulon Ultraflow eliminates the need for large flat parts like engine covers to be put into special cooling fixtures after they have been molded to stop them distorting. This saves costs and frees up manufacturing space. “For the new engine covers, MPC is operating with a significant reduction in cycle time and material density advantage”, says Mike Cuneo, Director of Product Engineering at MPC. “The parts meet tight profile tolerances and stringent appearance requirements. This combination is allowing MPC to address the VA/VE expectations from our customers to the point that legacy production parts are being changed over to gain the advantages the Akulon Ultraflow material provides.”