For Covestro, the VDI congress “Plastics in Automotive Engineering”, which will be offered this year on 28 and 29 July as a digital event, is all about future mobility: trends such as autonomous driving, electric cars and car sharing will completely redefine the use of a passenger car. The car of the future will be fully networked and will integrate seamlessly into everyday life. Modern plastics and technologies will play an important role in its design. With functional material solutions and a clear commitment to the circular economy, Covestro is underlining its position as a leading company in the industry and is focusing equally on innovation and sustainability.
The car interior will develop into a multifunctional living and working space.
In a plenary lecture on the first day of the congress, Jochen Hardt, who heads Global Marketing Mobility at Covestro, explains:
“This will result in completely new user expectations of the materials used.”
Covestro presented a premium interior concept for this at the K 2019 plastics trade fair. The prototype developed together with partners will also be shown at the VDI Congress.
Jochen Hardt, who is also a member of the expert committee for the VDI Congress, says:
“At the same time, the concept offers new opportunities for differentiation for the automotive industry.”
The comprehensive approach is equally concerned with functionality, comfort and design, but also with efficiency and light weighting. Highlights include multi-sensory infotainment systems, innovative seating concepts, smart surfaces and personalized lighting.
Of particular importance is a continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite material which Covestro offers under the name Maezio. It is extremely robust and lightweight and offers a great deal of design freedom. In the interior it is used in the seat shells and in a new space-saving table concept. The material also proves its versatility in the recently published compendium “Car Design Review 7”, whose cover is made of CFRTP material. It is a leading resource for car designers worldwide and also includes an interview with Jochen Hardt on the interior concept.
New safety concept for the battery
A lithium-ion battery is the heart of the electric and hybrid car of the future. In its design, it is not only a question of high performance, which largely determines the range of the vehicle, but also of the possible safety, for example in the event of an accident: On impact, the battery modules or cells could be damaged or cracked and possibly overheat or even catch fire.
Covestro has recognized this danger and developed a new concept for a battery housing based on the Baydur PUL polyurethane system in combination with pultrusion technology. This is a continuous process for the efficient production of fiber-reinforced plastic parts.
In a presentation on the first day of the congress, Galen Greene will report on the special mechanical stability of this material combined with its low weight:
“We would like to make our contribution to making electromobility safer, more economical and therefore more attractive with such developments and the associated tests. To this end, we are also seeking partners for the further optimization of this promising battery concept.”
In focus: plastic recyclates in cars
Jochen Hardt is also a panelist in a discussion on the subject of “Recyclates – opportunities and general conditions for the use of plastics in the vehicle of the future” on the first day of the congress. Covestro is strongly committed to the recycling of plastics and the use of alternative raw materials. With a long-term program, the company wants to focus strongly on the circular economy and to be a shaping force for the plastics industry. The company is also showing developments on these topics at its virtual trade fair stand.
Covestro has been using bio-based raw materials and CO2 in production for years. Recently, a strategic cooperation was also agreed with the Finnish chemical company Neste on the supply of material from renewable sources. It is intended to replace an important part of the fossil raw materials previously used for the production of polycarbonates.
Covestro is currently working with partners to develop innovative technologies for recycling plastics. The company is also a member of the Circularise Plastics project group. Its aim is to establish a new standard for the traceability of plastics back to the raw material to facilitate effective recycling.
Industries: Automotive and Road Transportation