Advanced thermoplastic technology from SABIC enables Mahindra & Mahindra to launch India’s first plastic fender.
SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business today announced that Indian automotive manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), with support from its Tier 1 supplier Plastic Omnium, has developed India’s first injection molded plastic fenders, which are featured on the new critically acclaimed global XUV500 sports utility vehicle (SUV). Upgrading from steel to lightweight, online paintable Noryl GTX resin helped Mahindra & Mahindra to improve the SUV’s fuel economy, reduce emissions, greatly expand design freedom, and enhance resistance against minor impact.
The use of Noryl GTX resin for the fenders helps make the global XUV500 one of the lightest SUVs in its class. This collaboration demonstrates SABIC’s commitment to provide automotive customers with thermoplastic solutions that help drive the development of cutting-edge styling for differentiated designs and improved sustainability through weight-out.
To create the first injection molded plastic fender in India, Mahindra & Mahindra turned to SABIC for their extensive experience in serving the global automotive industry. SABIC provided application development assistance in addition to the Noryl GTX resin, which helped meet the OEM’s requirements of exceptional light weight, online painting capability, improved gap and flush, and excellent low-speed impact resistance. The resin also gave Mahindra & Mahindra significant freedom to create aggressively flared fenders with accentuated curves and bold lines in line with the XUV500’s cheetah-like design.
“Mahindra & Mahindra is India’s premier utility vehicle company with a track record of launching groundbreaking SUVs, and they’ve done it again with the new XUV500 vehicle,” said V. Umamaheswaran (UV), director of marketing, Automotive, Innovative Plastics. “We are honored to have played a key role in achieving significant weight-reduction targets in this impressive vehicle, and to help Mahindra & Mahindra move closer to its goal of developing the lightest SUV in the world. SABIC’s complete offering, including technical support and a broad portfolio of material options, enabled the OEM and its Tier 1 supplier to meet this challenge.”
The biggest contributor to weight-out in a range of automotive applications is the conversion of metal to plastic. This led Mahindra & Mahindra to replace steel in the global XUV500 SUV’s fenders with Noryl GTX resin. This SABIC resin, which can be up to 50 percent lighter than steel, reduced the fender weight by 0.9 kg (1.98 lbs.) – a weight savings of 27 percent.
The material also helped Mahindra & Mahindra meet customer demand for excellent aesthetics and muscular styling, greater impact strength and anti-corrosion performance. In day-to-day vehicle operation, Noryl GTX resin’s enhanced resilience compared to steel allows the XUV500’s fender to flex and absorb energy to regain its original shape, reducing repair costs. Additionally, the design flexibility provided by Noryl GTX resin eliminated the multiple steps, tools and operations that are required to manufacture steel fenders.
Mahindra & Mahindra further benefitted from Noryl GTX resin’s high flow performance, a critical requirement for high-quality, large-part molding. Further, the resins’ ability to withstand the high temperatures of online painting allowed the fender to be integrated into the production process, while the material’s inherent conductivity avoids the need for a conductive primer step.
Noryl GTX resin is a blend of polyamide (PA) and modified polyphenylene ether (MPPE) polymer technologies, which combines the dimensional stability, low water absorption, and outstanding heat resistance of MPPE with the chemical resistance and flow of PA. The result is an extremely chemically resistant material with the excellent stiffness, impact strength and heat performance required for online painting.
SABIC has continued to drive the development of better next-generation applications with new conductive Noryl GTX resins that provide a number of critically important benefits. These include cutting coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) by 20 to 40 percent vs. previous grades for increased dimensional stability and improved gap and flush management, giving automotive designers greater freedom to create larger top-quality, high-precision body panels than previously feasible. The materials are also more easily integrated into existing processes, including ever-increasing high-heat online painting systems. Use of these Noryl GTX resins in larger and more complex fenders and other body panels can make an even greater contribution to vehicle weight-out for reduced fuel consumption and emissions.