Cars drive easier with MuCell

  • New generation of MuCell systems offer simple operation
  • Center console of Mercedes-Benz C-Class saves 20% weight
  • Topographic load design for established plastics
  • Trexel at “Plastics in Automotive Engineering 2015” congress in Mannheim

„Lightweight design in Automotive Interior“ is the main topic of the Trexel presentation at the International Congress “Plastics in Automotive Engineering 2015” in Mannheim, Germany. Latest applications have proved that MuCell not only combines foaming and lightweight design, but is also able to increase productivity.

Center console of Mercedes-Benz C-Class saves 20% weight

Grammer AG in Amberg, Germany, developed the center console of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class car. It is produced using the MuCell technology, representing an example of state-of-the-art physical foaming. Being a leader in interior design, the company laid out the processing units along the entire design chain according to a strategic approach, thus achieving optimum productivity and weight savings.

The center console assembly group is comprised of six different MuCell molded parts, with the total number of parts being higher subject to the actual right/left variant. According to its respective position in the assembly group, each component was produced using the best suited material and design. The thin-walled components meet the OEM’s high quality demands, especially because warpage and sink marks are unacceptable. For the design at hand, this would have been impossible without the method of physical foaming.

The center console of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class car (W 205) is comprised of six different foamed parts.

The center console of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class car (W 205) is comprised of six different foamed parts.

Topographic load design for established plastics

All components are foamed using nitrogen (N2) inert gas as a blowing agent. The visible parts, e.g. side covers, are designed as thin-walled parts with a wall thickness/rib ratio of 1:1. For optical reasons, they carry a laminar film. The frame and air duct of the center console benefited most of all from the filling option, which enabled load-related design of part topographies. Wall thickness is 1.5 mm in areas with a minor load, whereas the part is 1.8 mm thick only in those areas requiring a higher stiffness. Applying the technique of thermoplastic foam injection molding, designers have this additional freedom, without having to pay attention to the restrictions involved in compact injection molding.

The parts manufactured in the MuCell process can be integrated into the assembly or further downstream processes. These downstream processes consist of laminating with different surface materials, as well as connecting physically foamed elements by the usual welding techniques. Another advantage of the MuCell process: it allows the molding of parts on smaller injection molding machines with lower clamping force.

New equipment generation with simple operation

Trexel also presents a new equipment generation for the MuCell process which can be easily operated, requiring only two parameters to be entered. The T-series features compact design and includes fully automatically regulated blowing agent metering optimized for Nitrogen (N2). The new series is available either as a stand-alone unit with a graphical user interface or without a monitor and integrated in the machine control system.

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