Polyamide Lightens Truckloads
The compressed-air reservoir on a truck trailer may not be the flashiest vehicle component in the world, but it has an important job, providing compressed-air control for numerous mechanical functions...
The compressed-air reservoir on a truck trailer may not be the flashiest vehicle component in the world, but it has an important job, providing compressed-air control for numerous mechanical functions, especially for the brake and air-suspension systems.
Until now, compressed-air tanks have been made of metal. But in September 2008, the first compressed-air tank made of plastic was introduced at the International Motor Show for Commercial Vehicles, in Hanover, Germany.
Designed and manufactured by German-based processor Combat Composite Materials GmbH, the tank — which measures 1.2 meters in length, has a diameter of 32 cm, and holds 80 litres– is made from three Ultramid polyamides from BASF.
The manufacturing process involved a high-viscosity Ultramid extrusion type from BASF’s polyamide- 6 range, extruded in a pipe and then cut to size. A process developed by Combat then impregnates continuous glass fibres with a heat-stabilized Untramid type, before winding them around the pipe. Finally, an injection molded cap made of a third BASF polyamide is affixed to the ends of the pipe and then welded into place.
According to Ralph Funck, CEO of Combat, the advantages of this plastic compressed-air reservoir in comparison to metal tanks include reduced weight and cost, and corrosion resistance. “This is a huge step in the direction of using more plastic in trucks,” he said. BASF Canada (Mississauga, Ont.); www.basf.ca;866-485-2273