TCA Ultra Lite recognized with Unsurpassed Innovation Award

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  • 1.2 specific gravity material offers 40 percent weight savings
  • Treated glass bubbles replace Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3)
  • Patented treatment technology results in more robust resin mix
  • Material offers Class A finish

The 2015 CAMX Steering Committee has awarded Continental Structural Plastics (CSP) its Unsurpassed Innovation Award at the CAMX Expo in Dallas, Texas, for the company’s TCA Ultra Lite composite material. This 1.2 specific gravity material offers up to 40 percent weight savings over standard density advanced composite materials. It is currently in production on the 2016 Chevrolet C7 Corvette.

Treated glass bubbles replace Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3)

Because there is no degradation of mechanical properties, lighter parts molded with TCA Ultra Lite do not have to be made thicker, or incorporate structural reinforcements, to maintain the desired performance qualities. Specifically, Ultra Lite technology uses treated glass bubbles to replace Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), allowing the resin to adhere to the matrix and increase the interfacial strength between the bubble and the resin. This is a patented treatment technology that results in a more robust resin mix that makes molded parts more resistant to handling damage, and prevents the micro-cracks that cause paint pops, pits and blistering.

“By replacing the CaCO3 filler with glass microspheres, and incorporating Owens Corning’s ME1975 roving glass fiber, we have achieved a lightweight composite material that is e-coat oven capable and offers a superior surface finish for Class A applications,” said Probir Guha, vice president, Research and Development for CSP. “Depending on part design, it can be as light as aluminum, and more cost effective. Replacing conventional materials like steel with lighter alternatives like TCA Ultra Lite decreases energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions during vehicle use.”

Material offers Class A finish

TCA Ultra Lite offers automakers an opportunity to achieve a Class A finish with a material that is resistant to dents and dings, providing the consumer with a vehicle that will not be subject to the scratches and dings that mar the surface of any vehicle panel made of metal. In addition, TCA Ultra Lite provides the advantages that come with using a composite over a metal, including significantly reduced tooling costs (50 percent or more, depending on production volumes) and the ability to achieve unique design cues such as deep draws that cannot be achieved with a stamped metal.

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