Increasing EV demand presents new injection molding opportunities

The central focus of this year’s trend.scaut conference was how the increasing demand for electric vehicles presents a wealth of opportunities for molders — and a need for innovative applications.

“One of the EV applications we’re showcasing here is one we did at K 2019 in collaboration with Leonhard Kurz Stiftung & Co. KG and other design partners,” said Michael Fischer, head of business development automotive technologies for ENGEL. “It’s a new front panel design for electric vehicles that combines in-mold decorating and polyurethane film over-molding in one cell, which not only provides superior surface quality needed for EV but is also extremely energy-saving and efficient.”

Dhanendra Nagwanshi, EV Batteries & Electricals Leader for SABIC, discussed how plastics can drive innovation in the electric vehicle market.

“Designing EVs requires different thinking,” Nagwanshi stated. “For battery packs, this includes removing weight and cost while improving performance and enhancing safety.”

“One solution we have been developing is use of non-halogenated flame retardant and glass-filled polypropylene resin for EV battery pack trays. Despite the size of this application — about 5 feet long — it’s 40% lighter than metal when constructed with thermoplastic,” he explained. “It also has integrated cooling channels, which eliminate the need for a separate complex cooling plate. This part in thermoplastic can also offer enhanced thermal insulation and electrical isolation, which presents tremendous value compared to a more complex multi-piece metal tray design.”