Composite truck toolbox

Sabic has partnered with a Chinese truck manufacturer to make a composite material for a truck-mounted toolbox.

The company is using a combination of its Stamax resin, a long glass fiber polypropylene (PP), and continuous glass fiber composite laminate inserts via a single overmolding process to make the part for Dongfeng Motors, based in Wuhan, China.

The laminate inserts are pre-heated before being placed in the tool and overmolded with resin in a single operation. The inserts add stiffness and strength to critical areas of the part, enabling the use of thin-wall geometries that can reduce weight.

According to Sabic, the finished part is lighter by up to 30% compared to a similarly designed part in steel.

“By combining two different materials, our solution improves both performance and processability,” said Abdullah Al-Otaibi, general manager at Sabic. “Now that this composite technology is validated and in mass production with Dongfeng, we see many other automotive applications that could benefit.”

In addition to truck toolboxes, automotive applications could include tailgates, seating, front-end modules and battery housings for electric vehicles.

Using a composite solution could enable manufacturers to not only reduce weight, but also lower carbon emissions, control costs through production efficiencies, and achieve higher performance, Sabic said.