The injection moulded parts are lightweight while offering good strength and rigidity. The material is resistant against ageing by UV rays and therefore well suited for use outdoors. As a result, the propellers offer an attractive appearance and longevity.
One challenge facing manufacturers is the limited flight time of drones. As well as improving battery capacity and investigating new sources of energy, manufacturers can also reduce the energy consumption of drones and thus increase their flight time by taking advantage of lightweight solutions. Lanxess is able to draw on its experience in lightweight automotive designs to offer solutions for the drone industry.
As well as wings and propellers, the high performance plastics can also be used for drone bodies and landing gear. The materials help to reduce the weight of the aerial vehicle and thus enable longer flight times, as well as reduce vibrations and noise. The materials can also improve impact resistance, reduce any interference of metal materials with radio signals, simplify the production process and increase the flexibility of the product structure design, Lanxess says.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, have undergone rapid development over the past few years. Whether as a toy for children and adults or as support for rescue operations and in farming, drones are becoming increasingly common.
Lanxess reports that market research institute Gartner estimates around 3 million drones were sold worldwide in 2017 – almost 40% more than in the previous year. Gartner also predicts that drones will be one of the strongest growing sectors in consumer electronics over the coming years. Corporate consultants at PwC expect a global market of almost US$130 billion for drone-based services, for example in infrastructure, transport and security. Due to the diverse range of applications that can be carried out using the devices, demands on drones are increasing, opening up new business opportunities for material manufacturers.