To obviate the need for costly metal reinforcement, BBP and LANXESS worked together to devise concept ideas for a purely injection-molded component that would be capable of withstanding the high dynamic loads. In addition to design proposals, LANXESS contributed its expertise in simulations for structural component design. One particular challenge along the way was fastening the component to just a few points on the ladder frame and designing these fastenings to be capable of bearing the necessary loads.
"When we were making the calculations, we had the benefit of being able to draw on our extensive process expertise in matters of injection molding. For example, we used a process simulation to determine how the short glass fibers orient themselves locally during injection molding, which leads to direction-dependent mechanical component properties. We then fed the data from that into the structural simulation, which helped to make precise predictions about the mechanical behavior of the component and, in turn, to optimize it," says Frank Lutter, CAE specialist at LANXESS. Injection-molding the carrier offers a number of advantages over DLFT-based manufacturing. For example, fiber orientation, wall thickness and warpage are all easier to reproduce. Production also lends itself better to automation, and cycle times are shorter and more efficient. The material used is the Durethan BKV35H2.0 901510 polyamide 6 compound, reinforced with 35 weight percent short glass fibers.