The sunroof opening in the headliner is supported by a structural bracket traditionally made of heavy steel.
The sunroof opening in the headliner is supported by a structural bracket traditionally made of heavy steel.

BASF and auto company Grupo Antolin have developed a reinforced plastic car sunroof frame which they say is lighter than traditional steel.

Using polybutylenterephthalate (PBT) Ultradur High Speed material in plastic frames allows for a weight reduction up to 60% compared to other traditional solutions, the companies say. Using the material also makes it possible to make large parts with improved dimensional stability, lower warpage at short cycle times, higher stiffness, higher temperature resistance and improved flowability.

‘One of the main advantages of the newly designed plastic parts is the change in the process,’ said Enrique Fernandez, engineer at Grupo Antolin. ‘We attach the frame to the headliner [trim]. During the production process the panorama reinforcement frame is fixed to the interior trim part while at the same time the part is formed in the mold. That leads to the elimination of additional process steps and moreover it improves tolerances during assembly and the quality of the final part is increasing. In addition, the new process does not involve the use of any solvents nor generate hazardous emissions.’

This story uses material from BASF, with editorial changes made by Materials Today.