Laser Transparency for Engine Cooling
New Ultradur LUX is being used in an air flap control unit, an unusual serial application in automotive construction. Precision Motors German Minebea (PM DM), a motor developer based in Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany, uses the highly laser-transparent and therefore easily laser-weldable plastic of the PBT family (polybutylene terephthalate) from BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany, to make the housing cover of its new control module. This small motor or actuator, which consists of gears, electric motor and electronics, controls the air flaps in motor vehicles, thus contributing to better aerodynamics and lower CO2 emissions.
The highly laser-transparent PBT Ultradur LUX provides stiffness and dimensional stability, even in damp environments, two properties which are particularly important in the electric and electronic realms. Its central characteristic is its vastly improved high transparency toward near-infrared light in the 800 to 1,100 nm wavelength range – this is precisely the range which is crucial for laser transmission welding. Thanks to the increased transparency to laser light, the material can be welded faster than other grades of PBT on the market. In addition, the process window is considerably wider and the risk of damaging the material is significantly reduced. The Ultradur LUX B4300 G4 grade used here is reinforced with 20 % glass fibers.
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