Innovations Applied
Flame-Retardant compounds for the Automotive Industry


The car catching on fire is every driver's worst nightmare. Yet in the past, faulty automotive electronics were often the cause of just that. Fires have even occurred when the ignition was turned off. To help counter this problem, demand for flame-retardant plastics in the automotive industry has increased dramatically.

Special characteristics for automotive electrics include the use of direct current electricity and low voltage applications, as well as specific legal stipulations. Regulations common for household electronics, for example, are often not applied to the automotive sector. Most industry experts now agree that the fire-prevention classification "UL 94 VO" is a relevant assessment criterion for car manufacturers too.

With this in mind, A. Schulman developed SCHULAMID® 66GBF3020 FR4 and POLYFLAM® RIPP 374 ND CS1. A wide range of well-known automotive suppliers put their trust in the UL94 as VO listed materials. They are essential in the manufacture of control boxes used in electrical systems. These are then attached to wiring harnesses with plug connectors. The polyamide housing includes a control card that is permanently fastened to the housing. And the parts are treated at above 100º C during the attachment process.

If pure glass fiber reinforced polyamides were applied for the complex geometry, considerable distortions would occur. As a result, A. Schulman offers an optimum solution: SCHULAMID® 66 GBF 3020 FR4. The use of a special and carefullly measured mixture of glass beads and glass fibers makes it possible to manufacture low-distortion products.

POLYFLAM® RIPP 374 ND CS1 is a well established product, which has long been used in the capacitor industry. It is less expensive than PA and ideally suited as a material for making protection caps for control units. The snap connections profit from good elongation at break. POLYFLAM® RIPP 374 ND CS1 is also characterized by excellent contrast during the laser marking process. Usually a data matrix code is applied with YAG lasers. Even though this inscription can be individually programmed for every component, it is still an indelible part of the subassembly. Logistics for separate labels are not required and "fake" components hardly stand a chance.

Just recently, the first RAST 2.5 plugs using our materials were introduced to the automotive parts market. It was a logical move. After all, our SCHULAMID® 6MV14 FR4 K1681 has been used for years as an ideal material for household appliances. RAST 2.5 plugs ensure the highest level of safety. They will not catch fire when put to IEC glow wire tests. These plugs are also being used for drop-arm switches at a major German car manufacturer and for advanced LED tail lights.

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