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Maezio® composites for more robust designer luggage

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TUPLUS, a Chinese high-end luggage brand, was searching for a material more durable than aluminum. Covestro supported them in developing a new suitcase using Maezio® thermoplastic composites, uniting premium design with better impact resistance and cost-efficient mass production.

Task

Find a robust new material for stylish high-end suitcases

TUPLUS is a high-end luggage brand based in China and winner of the Red Dot Design Award. Since 2015, the firm has made its mark with distinctive high-end aluminum suitcases. While chic and popular, aluminum is also prone to dents, scratches and even warping from everyday use. The company needed to create a new, more robust product without adding weight or losing the premium feel of metal. Covestro introduced them to the benefits of thermoplastic materials. 
Challenge

Unite luggage durability with cost-effective production

Luggage gets a lot of rough handling: on and off airplanes, in and out of car trunks, dragged along sidewalks and across lobbies. Before finding its way into a suitcase, a new material is subjected to multiple and random free-fall drops, repetitive tumbles and falling ball impact tests. It also has to demonstrate enough stiffness to protect sensitive equipment. For manufacturers, any new material must also be cost-effective in mass production, with high yield rates and low cycle times.

“Covestro’s Maezio® composites have allowed us to take advantage of the superior strength and premium value of carbon fiber, to offer our customers enhanced protection and an entirely new travel experience.”

Catherine Jiang

President & CEO,TUPLUS

Solution

Maezio® for performance and style suited to mass production

Maezio® thermoplastic composites are based on a polycarbonate matrix system. Intrinsically tough, lightweight polycarbonates are a staple material for hard-shell suitcases. Reinforced with carbon fiber, they show less impact damage and deformation than aluminum, and their unidirectional fiber appearance avoids the woven look of carbon fiber. Thermoplastic composites also offer easy processing and a high production rate: TUPLUS takes sheets of Maezio® composite straight off the production line and attaches them to an alloy frame after a few simple steps like cutting and coating; a cost-effective way to mass produce carbon fiber suitcases.

“We believe our Maezio® thermoplastic composite solutions will accelerate the adoption of carbon fiber composites in luggage thanks to their unique performance, combined with aesthetic and production advantages.”

Lisa Ketelsen

Head of Thermoplastic Composites,Covestro

High performance premium luggage with efficient production

  • Stiff and robust: Maezio® outperforms aluminum in rigorous safety and performance testing.
  • High-end optics: Unidirectional texture swaps the woven-fabric style for a premium metallic look.
  • Cost-effective: Thermoplastic composites offer easy processing and a high production rate.

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