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11-22-2013

BASF and BMW Receive Award for EPP Part

First-place SPE award in “Body Interior” category for BMW Group and BASF (figure: BASF)

A center console made of Neopolen polypropylene foam received the “15th SPE Automotive Division Award 2013" in the Body Interior category. This joint project by BMW Group, BASF, and other partners represents the first visible use of Neopolen polypropylene foam on a center console.

BMW Group is the world’s first car maker to use polypropylene foam as a visible contour material on an innovative center console. Neopolen P foam from BASF helps reduce weight by around 30 percent compared to the previous solution. Molding technology specially developed for this purpose eliminates steps otherwise necessary for the conventional process – production now consists of only a single step.

The process starts by laying a thermoplastic substrate into the mold, filling its cavity with foam beads, and using steam pressure to weld these two elements into a molded part. During the same step, movable bars place smooth sheeting on the molded part and firmly bond it with the material. At the same time, the bars’ grain structure and the heat from the steam lend the sheeting its typical texture. This gives the component an appealing surface with a softer feel.

BMW Group will be using this lightweight structural element in its cars in the future. As the next step, the company will be selecting the models for which the component will be part of series production.

Considered the most prominent award for plastics in the automotive industry, the SPE Automotive Division Award recognizes the most innovative and creative solutions in the field.

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