Kingfa delivers thermoplastic composite and injection moulding materials for Ford Focus lightweight door module carrier, further developments to be shown at K fair 2019


Kingfa delivers thermoplastic composite (organic sheets) and injection moulding materials for Ford Focus lightweight door module carrier, further developments to be shown at K fair 2019. Kingfa Sci. & Tech. Co. Ltd and its subsidiary Guangzhou Kingfa Carbon Fiber Materials Development Co. Ltd., both from Guangzhou in China, supply their innovative materials in China for the mass production of lightweight door module carriers for the Ford Focus.

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Kingfa worked very closely with German system supplier Brose Fahrzeugteile to develop its new continuous fiber reinforced material, called KingPly, to fulfil the high requirements set by Brose development. Brose designed the lightweight door module carrier with considerable weight saving targets while not sacrificing any performance requirements. More so: Brose even managed to increase the functional integration. This succeeded in a weight saving of about 35% compared to a standard injection moulding door module carrier and reduced the car weight of the 4 door model Ford Focus by more than 1 kg compared to a PP-LGF 30 door module carrier. Compared to a standard metal door concept without plastic carrier, this composite design could reduce the car weight by more than 5kg.

With its new composite materials based on UD layers, Kingfa advances into new areas of lightweight design. The thin single layers made of UD tapes, called KingStrong, are used to manufacture custom made semi-finished products in the form of sheets under the brand name KingPly for the customer, which are finetuned exactly to the application and its requirements. In the case of the door module, a very thin but strong multi layer material is composed to give the part stiffness and strength. The door module has many requirements: Stiffness, strength, NVH, acoustics and also sealing, as the carrier is on the division line between dry and wet within the door structure. The chosen material is using PP matrix and continuous glass fiber as reinforcement. The sheets are cut by Kingfa to the exact dimensions needed in the injection moulding tool, so that no cutting and waste is happening at the customer’s production.

„Now, even more efficient parts can be designed and manufactured using UD layers, which enable highly custom-made and optimized materials. They can be used even better to implement the lightweight requirements of the future than commonly used similar materials based on woven fibres. “, explains Martin Klocke, Vice General Manager Automotive Business of Kingfa Sci.&Tech. (Europe) GmbH, the European subsidiary located in Wiesbaden.

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“Our newly developed thermoplastic composite materials have proven Kingfa’s innovative capacity and we hope to even better support our customers in their lightweight projects. To achieve this, we invested heavily in the design and construction of our own in-house technology and manufacturing. The whole production setup was optimised such that we are ready to tackle high volume mass production. This is proven by this successful mass production project by Brose for Ford.”, says Peng Xiao, General Manager at Guangzhou Kingfa Carbon Fiber Materials Development.

The thermoplastic composite materials from Kingfa can be processed reliably in the already known one-shot injection moulding process. The part manufacturer has optimised this process for the mass production of the door module to such an extend that it is able to offer cost attractive lightweight parts in high volume. An important feature of the process is a short cycle time and the fact that forming of the composite and injection happen in the same tool. The composite material is accompanied by Kingfa’s pultruded PP LGF injection moulding grade, a perfect match to complement the lightweight design of the carrier. This grade was optimised to match current and future high requirements regarding VOC and odour for interior applications.

Kingfa is confident that its composite materials and compounds can be a solution for many cost-effective lightweight applications in the automotive industry in the future. This will be further demonstrated during K fair 2019, where Engel will showcase a complex high-tech production cell on their booth with daily live demonstrations. On this machine, a new, innovative part developed by Brose will be produced on a tool made by Georg Kaufmann Formenbau, hinting at the future of door structures. It features three different organic sheets tailor-made by Kingfa. These sheets fulfil very different mechanical and esthetical requirements within Brose’s part design, which can be perfectly met with Kingfa’s own UD-based technology. Finally, the sheets are accompanied by Kingfa PP LGF injection moulding material which provides the ribbing and also an esthetical surface. “This application shows not only the future of possible plastic door structures, but also how our own technology will fit into this. On the one hand, we can follow with our UD fibres the load paths within the part perfectly, on the other hand our UD based organic sheets can be overmoulded to form an esthetical surface. This is by far easier with our materials than with currently used, fabric-based organic sheets”, says Dr. Xinyu Fan, Director of R&D at Guangzhou Kingfa Carbon Fiber Materials Development.

Kingfa currently offers a portfolio of UD tapes, random mats and organic sheets mainly based on glass fiber and different thermoplastic matrix materials. For KingPly organic sheets, PP and PA6 are offered for mainly automotive purposes, whereas for KingStrong UD tapes a larger variety with PP, PA6, ABS and HDPE offer also applications outside of automotive.
Especially the innovative mix of organic sheets in conjunction with UD tapes as local reinforcements by Kingfa will ensure that a recyclable, affordable lightweight future is within reach for many applications.