Canadian Plastics

Lear first to purchase new multi-material molding system from Husky

By Judith Nancekivell   

In the highly competitive automotive market, technology may be the key to survival for parts suppliers....

In the highly competitive automotive market, technology may be the key to survival for parts suppliers.

“We want to help our customers stop the squeezing and change the rules of the game,” said Rich Sieradzki, general manager for Husky Injection Molding Systems’ Detroit Technical Center.

At the company’s automotive technical centre in Novi, MI, Husky unveiled new injection molding technology aimed at doing just that.

The Quadloc-Tandem-Index (QTI) system enables the cost-effective manufacture of large interior and exterior plastic panels with multiple materials in a single machine. The QTI produces a complete part with improved quality, lower cost and less downstream assembly. It is the latest development in the Quadloc machine line from Husky, headquartered in Bolton, ON.


Husky sold its first QTI system to Tier-1 automotive interiors specialist Lear Corp. in Southfield MI. Lear plans to use the 3,150 metric ton QTI machine at one of its U.S. plants. Lear also worked with Husky to develop the QTI concept along with several materials suppliers to develop special thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) modified with additives to give longer flow lengths.

Lear’s first job for the QTI will be for the manufacturing of a door bolster made of talc-filled polypropylene overmolded with TPE, launching in mid-2005. Two more parts made with the same material will be on vehicles coming out in 2006. Lear is targeting several automotive segments for this technology — for example, mid-range cars and SUVs.

“We believe multi-material automotive applications are an ideal solution in the ongoing quest to improve quality, while maintaining or reducing production costs,” said Ken Shaner, vice-president of manufacturing technology for Lear.

During a demonstration at Husky’s Detroit technical centre, the QTI machine was shown running a prototype mold from Lear for an instrument panel (IP), overmolded with TPE.

Shaner cited several advantages to this approach over other IP manufacturing methods as molded-in colour, molded and painted, vacuum formed foamed vinyl, slush/rotocast PVC and spray polyurethane. The advantages include precision fit and finish, design flexibility, softer touch and superior grain definition and sharp radii of 0.55mm. The QT1 also provides a consistent wall thickness for the overmolded TPE, the ability of the TPE to hide sink marks, a substrate that is virtually inseparable from the overmolded finish and recyclability.


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