The significance of the breakthrough innovation in the new bumper system lies primarily in a 25-30 % weight reduction, a cost reduction of 10 to 20 % and an enhanced collision performance. The innovation is based on QEE-TECH® technology, which is particularly suited to high volume production.
The new bumper system is an outstanding collaborative achievement, involving several players in the value chain, namely Hyundai-KIA (OEM), Hanwha L&C (part producer) and EELCEE (composite preform producer). The joint development started in 2010 with launch in two different passenger cars targeted for the beginning of 2014. Based on simulation as well as full prototype testing, the bumper now meets the IIHS 10km/h full barrier requirements.
The exceptional weight and cost reduction is achieved by using patented QEE-TECH® technology together with GMT (Glass Mat Thermoplastic) over-molding. QEE-TECH® is a thermoplastic 3D-tow skeleton with continuous fiber reinforcement. This technology provides outstanding load introduction and distribution in the GMT-based composite part. One of its key features is the optimized positioning of the reinforcement, allowing highly efficient use of continuous fibers throughout the structure. This unique way of benefiting from the superior mechanical performance of continuous fiber composites permits design freedom with a reduced composite part thickness. Typical cycle-time is around one to two minutes, and the fully thermoplastic-based system offers several alternatives for subsequent recycling.
The increased use of thermoplastic composites in the automotive industry is a trend that is driven by considerations of weight reduction and sustainable development, as well as material recycling concerns. Indeed, there is currently a huge need for cost and weight saving technologies in this sector. QEE-TECH® technology may be incorporated into existing molding technologies, such as injection or compression molding. Moreover it meets the high performance standards specified by the automotive industry for both the European and the US markets, and may be used for structurally loaded parts, such as front/rear bumper beams, seat structures, front-end-module carriers, etc.
Through innovation support, application engineering/simulation, prototype manufacturing and production of composite preforms, QEE-TECH® technology enables for manufacturers to find solutions for metal replacement for high volume structural parts in the automotive, sports and consumer goods sectors.