Continental Structural Plastics’ TCA Ultra Lite™ Recognized with Unsurpassed Innovation Award
Auburn Hills, Michigan – October 28, 2015 — 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 innovative TCA Ultra Lite advanced composite material. This revolutionary, 1.2 specific gravity material offers as much as a 40 percent weight savings over standard density advanced composite materials. It is currently in production on the 2016 Chevrolet C7 Corvette.
“TCA Ultra Lite has been called ‘a space age material’ by our customers, because of the significant weight savings it offers while maintaining all of the surface and mechanical properties of our proven TCA material,” said Frank Macher, chairman and CEO of Continental Structural Plastics. “This material provides car makers with a competitive alternative to aluminum as they seek ways to reduce vehicle weight and achieve CAFE standards.”
The CAMX Unsurpassed Innovation Award recognizes the cutting-edge innovations that will significantly impact composites and advanced materials in the marketplace. The CAMX Steering Committee looks for visionary concepts and products that show strength through collaboration, while bridging low-cost materials/high-volume applications with high performance applications/low-volume materials. The award was presented at the Opening General Session of the annual CAMX Expo.
TCA Ultra Lite = Lighter, Stronger Parts
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.
The product also uses Owens Corning Advantex® glass technology which can be manufactured with lower environmental impact compared to other glass types. Glass reinforced polymers can have a lower global warming potential (GWP) than steel in the production and use phase for automotive applications such as body parts.
“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.”
TCA Ultra Lite offers automakers an opportunity to achieve a Class A finish with a material that is resistant to corrosion, dents and dings, ultimately providing the consumer with a vehicle that doesn’t rust, and won’t 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 benefits 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 can’t be achieved with a stamped metal.
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About Continental Structural Plastics
For more than 40 years, Continental Structural Plastics has provided leading-edge technologies in lightweight materials and composite solutions for the automotive, heavy truck, HVAC and construction industries. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, CSP provides full-service engineering support, and holds more than 50 patents covering materials development and manufacturing processes in composite materials formulation, design and manufacturing technologies. For more information, visit www.cspplastics.com.