Canadian Plastics

MuCell-molded parts capturing more automotive business

The number and type of automotive parts being manufactured by MuCell microcellular injection molding technology con...

March 17, 2003   Canadian Plastics

The number and type of automotive parts being manufactured by MuCell microcellular injection molding technology continues to grow, as evidence showed at the recent Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress.
“This process is ideal for molding under-the-hood parts and electronic components, such as switches and connectors,” said Jeff Terrell, manager of product development at Tricon Industries Inc. Tricon, which operates two manufacturing facilities in the Chicago area, specializes in insert-molded circuit substrates used in a variety of car systems, such as lighting, braking and steering.
MuCell, licensed by Trexel Inc., is a microcellular foaming process that can be incorporated on standard injection molding machines. The process introduces a supercritical fluid into the molten plastic, reducing viscosity of the melt up to 60%. Reduced viscosity in turn provides a number of advantages, including reduction in cycle time, reduced clamping tonnage, reductions in injection pressure and lower processing temperatures. As the microcellular foam produces a swirling pattern on the surface of the part, the MuCell is generally limited to parts with no cosmetic or appearance requirements.
Tricon is using the MuCell process to mold the backplate of a new Universal Mini Socket. The Socket is currently undergoing PPAP validation prior to full commercialization.
“With this socket backplate, we obtained a 30% reduction in cycle time and a 10% reduction in material costs,” Terrell reported. He also said the other benefits of MuCell lower injection pressures, lower processing temperatures were equally significant.
According to Trexel’s company literature, examples of other automotive parts molded by the MuCell process include an automotive mirror bracket, air distribution housing and a PC/ABS “A” pillar.


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