New thermoplastic lift-gate solution
Styron, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber, unveils the first full-thermoplastic, mono-material lift-gate ever produced in series on a commercial vehicle featured in the New Renault Clio.
Styron has been working closely together with Renault for many years. When the French OEM approached Styron to collaborate on producing a new lift-gate for the New Renault Clio that would not only target a weight reduction of 10% but would also be easily recyclable, the Styron Sales and Engineering Teams had an exciting, new development project on their hands.
Styron played an important role from concept development to production of the final part:
Whereas both teams collaborated closely in the engineering phase to design the right structural part of the lift-gate, Styron also brought in its expertise in the material development implementation phase to select and test the materials required to fulfill the specific requirements for a lift-gate. To achieve this, extensive process simulation has been conducted at Styron’s global Application Engineering & Design Centre (AEDC).
After a two-year development project with Styron, Renault is now launching the New Renault Clio with a thermoplastic lift-gate made with Styron’s material solutions. The lift-gate is manufactured in thermoplastic from three separate parts.
“The automotive industry has been looking for alternatives to steel for lift-gates for many years. Weight savings, styling freedom and function integration are the main objectives,” says Marjolein Groeneweg, Marketing Manager Styron Automotive. “With this innovative concept jointly developed by Renault and our R&D department, the French car manufacturer not only contributes to weight reduction for optimal fuel efficiency but also responds to waste management recycling guidelines promoting recyclability without disassembly. Knowing that the base polymer of the lift-gate solution is the same, the part can be easily recycled and used in other future applications.”
Initially Styron Automotive supported Renault in the engineering phase with process simulations to obtain the right concept for developing a thermoplastic lift-gate. A lift-gate is a complex application for several reasons: It needs to fit perfectly on to the car and has numerous functions that need to be hidden (such as the hinges and the closing mechanism). Additionally, it is subjected to many external conditions such as exposure to high/low temperature in humid environment that can cause deformation issues and must then be addressed to guarantee water tightness.