Automotive materials have evolved significantly, becoming sophisticated and better built over time, and all aimed at improving a vehicle’s crash safety, noise & vibration, lightweighting, fuel economy, and overall cost
Mumbai-based Celanese Chemicals India has built a solid reputation as a leading global supplier of high-performance engineering thermoplastics and thermoplastic elastomers. In an interaction with Auto Tech Review, BK Sethuram, Managing Director, Celanese Chemicals India (Above) and Sanjay Bedi, Sales Lead, Celanese Chemicals India (Below) spoke about the advancements happening in automotive materials space, its acquisition of Next Polymers providing it a world-class compounding facility, its future roadmap among others.
A large chunk Celanese Chemicals India’s engineering plastic portfolio caters to the automotive industry, including under-the-hood, interior and exterior systems. The automotive industry is going through a significant transformation with vehicles increasingly getting sophisticated with a high focus on making mobility environmentally-friendly. Given the ever-evolving consumer expectations, coupled with a focus on reducing greenhouse gases and safety, the company anticipates more and more convergence between innovations deployed in developed markets as well as in India.
Celanese Chemicals India, which kick-started India operations in 2007, offers MetaLX® metal effect polymers that enable automotive interior visual unity and offers improved durability. Such polymers deliver substantial cost-savings over painted or chrome-plated metal-look parts, noted Sethuram. Further, MetaLX® polymers offer high gloss and matte finishes, ultraviolet resistance (UV) as well as scratch-and-mar protection for interior and exterior applications, without sacrificing on dimensional stability or mechanical properties.
The company also offers Riteflex® thermoplastic polyester elastomers (TPC-ET) that can be applied to CVJ boots, air ducts, and fuel cap tether, etc. These thermoplastic polyester elastomers are block copolymers that combine the favourable characteristics of vulcanised rubber with easy processability of thermoplastics for toughness, tear and flex fatigue resistance over a wide temperature range (-40 °C to +121 °C). Sethuram said these thermoplastic polyester elastomers offer an innovative combination of hard and soft segments, providing the desirable properties of thermoset elastomers along with the processing ease of thermoplastics. Such elastomers offer high mechanical strength and are flexible, in terms of delivering high-impact strength even at low temperatures. These elastomers are also resistant to chemicals and ageing, and come with excellent wear resistance, said Sethuram.
IMPROVING ENVIRONMENT PROFILES
Thanks to the government’s thrust, India is witnessing a big push for electric vehicles (EVs). Celanese Chemicals India offers a gamut of solutions that can meet EV requirements, including high-performance polymers that will enable vehicle manufacturers to exceed their energy efficiency targets and can improve electric motor performance, besides ensuring light-weighting battery systems as well as optimising thermal management. Such polymers can meet wide-ranging market demands, including recyclable and renewably-sourced materials to improve the environmental profile of vehicles, said Sethuram.
On the EV charging front, the company offers flame-retardant compounds that can be deployed for high-voltage charging ports and high-voltage connectors. Bedi said these compounds offer excellent resistance to hydrolysis and chemicals, while also maintaining colour consistency for improved safety. More importantly, such compounds include halogen-free polymers. Further, the company’s compound solutions protect sensitive electronic devices against malfunction caused by electromagnetic waves and radio interference, thus enabling electromagnetic shielding of enclosures and housings.
As far as thermal management is concerned, the company offers a diverse portfolio of thermally conductive polymers, available with electrically conductive or insulative properties. Such polymers enable metal replacement and passive heat dissipation for power electronics, battery and charging systems and advanced driver assistance systems.
It was in late 2018 that Celanese Chemicals India acquired Next Polymers, and that move helped establish Celanese Chemicals India as a leader in the engineering thermoplastics (ETP) market in the country. Bedi said the acquisition enhanced Celanese’s capability in compounding polymers with post-industrial recycled content, an increasingly important focus area that reinforces its commitment towards waste reduction and environmental accountability. Further, the company’s acquisition of Next Polymers meant they have access to the latter’s production facility located in Silvassa in the union territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli. This move has enabled the company to promptly address customer needs for new products and custom prototypes, Sethuram said.
TEXT: Suhrid Barua