Canadian Plastics

New design turn for steering wheels

SABIC Innovative Plastics is putting a new spin on the traditional steering wheel with an injection molded design featuring its Lexan EXL copolymer resin.

June 1, 2010   Canadian Plastics



SABIC Innovative Plastics is putting a new spin on the traditional steering wheel with an injection molded design featuring its Lexan EXL copolymer resin.

There are two versions of the glass-filled, polycarbonate-siloxane resin design: one is injection molded in two parts and finished with a leather wrap, the other is injection molded in one part and then overmolded with polyurethane. Both are attached to the steering column with a small metal hub.

“It’s high time for a new direction in steering wheel design, and SABIC has made a 180-degree turn with our two-part molded design,” said V. Umamaheswaren, director of products and marketing. “Tough new demands on steering wheels–from integration of features and weight-out– require an entirely new approach.”

Unveiled at Chinaplas 2010, the new steering wheels cut system costs by up to 20 per cent and reduce mass by up to 40 per cent compared to traditional magnesium or aluminum alloy models, he said.

In addition, injection molding Lexan EXL is a more environmentally friendly process than die casting magnesium alloy because it reduces CO2 emissions. “Compared to die casting 1.1 kg of magnesium alloy, which generates nearly 70 kg of carbon dioxide, manufacturing 1.0 kg of Lexan EXL copolymer resin only generates 7.6 kg, about one-tenth the emissions,” Umamaheswaren explained.

Using Lexan EXL also allows for greater design flexibility and part consolidation through integration of items such as the airbag attachment and horn mechanism, he added.

SABIC Innovative Plastics (Toronto); www.sabic-ip.com;1-800-323-3783


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