Asahi Kasei Celebrates Second Consecutive Win In Materials Category Of SPE® Automotive Innovation Awards

 Asahi Kasei Celebrates Second Consecutive Win In Materials Category Of SPE®
                         Automotive Innovation Awards

PR Newswire

LIVONIA, Mich., Nov. 26, 2013

LIVONIA, Mich., Nov. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Nissan Motor Corp. and Asahi
Kasei Corp. were honored at the 43^rd Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE^®)
Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, winning "Most Innovative Use of Plastics"
in the Materials category for the 2014 Nissan^® Sentra^® instrument panel. The
winning material – SUNVIEO^™ – is a high-performance thermoplastic vulcanizate
(TPV) with an exceptionally high melt flow rate. The new material simplified
the deployment of soft, cost effective, injection moldable instrument panel
(IP) skins across global platforms.

"We wouldn't be here if our customers didn't challenge us to defy the status
quo," said Kin-ya Matsuzawa, general manager, new business development of
Asahi Kasei Chemicals. "While this is our second win in the SPE materials
category, this award is particularly special, as it is no small feat to be
part of an international, cross-company collaboration and get recognized for
our work once again."

The Design Challenge
"One of the technical requirements – the 1mm (0.040 inch) thickness of the IP
skin – is possible today, but only with costly and sophisticated tooling
technology," said Yukinori Nakajima, TPV technical manager for Asahi Kasei
Chemicals. "Unfortunately, these types of resources are not readily accessible
in every country in which OEMs conduct manufacturing. But what if we were able
to reframe the problem?" continued Nakajima. "If the solution lay in a higher
technology material, now your only limit is having access to an
injection-molding machine large enough to produce a bumper. This is a solution
that is globally achievable."

How an Unconventional TPV Raises the Bar
Asahi Kasei approached TPVs for the Nissan Sentra due to the material's
inherent softness – a result of high cross-linking within the material
chemistry. But the melt flow of a highly cross-linked TPV ranges from 0.5 to
2.0 g/10 min. Given this constraint, it would be impossible to mold a
traditional TPV in a 1mm wall thickness in an IP. The innovation of SUNVIEO –
with a specific gravity of 0.90 g/cm^3 – is that in addition to being highly
cross-linked, its melt flow of 250 g/10 min made it possible to produce thin
wall IPs with pleasing aesthetics and haptics.

The ultrahigh melt flow of the material also assists with cycle time
reduction. When comparing injection molded IPs to thermoformed IPs or slush
molded IPs, there is an improvement in cycle times over either method of
14-80%. This is a big win for production efficiency and reduces bottom-line

SUNVIEO also performs exceedingly well at very cold temperatures. Its low
temperature ductility of -49 degrees C (-56.2 degrees F) is ideal for air bag
deployment in the world's chillier regions.

Complex Geometry? Check.
"Automotive interior designers will appreciate the design freedom SUNVIEO
offers," said Iichiro Kitsuda, vice president of sales for Asahi Kasei
Plastics. "The ultrahigh melt flow opens up so many new possibilities from
complex geometries to deep draws and pretty much whatever the designers want
to throw at it."

An Environmental Leader
SUNVIEO also has a deep environmental impact when comparing injection-molded
IPs to thermoforming and slush molding. The latter two methods produce 15-25%
more scrap than an instrument panel molded with SUNVIEO. Further, when the
energy usage of competing processes is compared, injection molding is by far
the clear leader with energy savings that range from 31-55%. These energy
savings further accounted for a 215 metric ton (473,000 lbs.) reduction of
CO[2] equivalent when compared to Thermoplastic Urethane (TPU) slush molding.

An additional benefit of SUNVIEO is how it gets processed prior to part
production. Thermoforming and slush molding require additional processing,
whether it is converting the pellet form of the material to sheet or pellet to
powder for slush molding. No conversion is necessary for SUNVIEO, which helps
simplify production and reduce production timeframes.

About Asahi Kasei Plastics
Asahi Kasei Plastics is a leading international custom compounder of advanced
engineered polymers and is the largest short-glass reinforced polypropylene
manufacturer in North America. With a diverse and fully customizable product
portfolio, and manufacturing facilities located across the globe, Asahi Kasei
Plastics is providing unique engineering solutions for the global market. The
company's product lines include THERMYLENE^® (polypropylene), LEONA™ (nylon
66, 66+6i), THERMYLON^® (nylon 6, 66), TENAC™ (acetal) and XYRON™ (modified
polyphenylene ether – mPPE), STYLAC™ (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene – ABS).

^Thermylene® and Thermylon® are registered trademarks of Asahi Kasei Plastics
North America, Inc.
Sunvieo™, Leona™, Tenac™, Xyron™ and Stylac™ are trademarks of Asahi Kasei
Chemicals Corporation.
SPE® is a registered trademark of the Society of Plastics Engineers.
Nissan® and Sentra® are registered trademarks of Nissan Motor Corp.

Asahi Kasei Plastics     Intuit Group
Ramesh Iyer              Media Contact:   Teri Chouinard CBC, APR
Joel Wiese               (Photos via 

SOURCE Asahi Kasei Corp.
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