Maezio® thermoplastic composites bring high performance from core to surface
For tomorrow’s vehicles, Maezio® thermoplastic composites (CFRTP) offer production-ready solutions for robust, slim, lightweight components. From concept to mass production, we help car makers create high-performance parts such as ultra-thin tables, slim seats or wheel blades in a new carbon look.
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Car maker’s dilemma: delivering tomorrow’s increased multi-functionality with limited space
As electric cars take to the road in larger numbers, followed soon by autonomous vehicles, many expect the in-car experience to change. Opinions differ on how far and how quickly autonomy will become the norm, but the long-term car interior trend is clear: it is shifting from cockpit to a space with much more lounge character.
This flexible living and working space will demand material solutions that are strong and stiff enough to allow these thin and versatile applications.
Our production-ready Maezio® continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastics (CFRTP) can help car-makers solve this dilemma, uniting high performance with aesthetics. Slim parts are enabled when a strong core structure is combined with surface aesthetics.
Maezio® can be back molded and efficiently processed at scale, similar to a thermoplastic. In addition, its continuous, unidirectional (UD) fibers provide various options for replacing the traditional woven look of carbon fiber with a smooth, premium surface, which can then be matt-coated or grained. It can even be engineered for an organic marble look.
Tested and refined in partnership with major automotive suppliers and manufacturers, Maezio® has quickly proved itself as an all-round enabler for car components ranging from sleek and slim seatbacks to low-profile, high-load tables and stylish, heat-resistant wheel blades.
Pioneering a concept: Maezio® ultrathin fold-out tables, super-slim seats
In a concept car interior developed for the K 2019 trade show, we showcased Maezio® by creating a vision for a lightweight seat shell that placed the material in a sandwich structure with expanded polycarbonate (EPC). This new vision for a super-stiff, slim seat combined aesthetics with an easily paintable frame surface based on a recycling-friendly single material solution. It also featured in the sleek dashboard, which integrated a tape-flake based Maezio® Marble texture in a new design use case.
To showcase how an in-car concept can become a production reality, Maezio® was put through a variable thermal forming process to create a slim, ultrabook-like fold-out table. This space-saving unit weighs in at just 690g, and when folded out can bear a load in excess of 50kg, opening up a range of new uses and multifunctionality for autonomous vehicle interiors.
The sandwich structures we see emerging can even be used in body panels, providing rigidity on the one hand, and foam thermal insulation properties on the other. Lowering the energy consumption of automotive air conditioners and radiators can enable reduced the engine size and lower overall vehicle weight, which in turn can increase the driving range.
More sustainable material with unique aesthetics: In-car surfaces with recycled grades of Maezio® Marble
Maezio® CFRTP is also a way of making the automotive sector more sustainable. We worked with GAC Group, a Chinese car maker, to create seatbacks for a concept car offering surface styles inspired by nature. Off-spec materials/processing wastes have been recycled to produce the seatback, which actually offers a top-of-the-line marble look, and still offers 50% of the mechanical properties of virgin material.
In a related lifecycle assessment of the environmental impact of laptop covers, Maezio® even as virgin sheet-material showed a 70% reduction in carbon footprint compared to magnesium alloy covers.
High-performance parts in production: Maezio® carbon fiber SUV wheel blades
The Chinese electric vehicle start-up NIO uses Maezio® thermoplastic composites for its new matt-look carbon fiber wheel blades on their ES8 and ES6 SUV.
The company envisioned wheels with bolted-in carbon fiber wheel blade inserts to give their SUVs high-end styling with less weight and better aerodynamics.
The combination of unidirectional fibers with the polycarbonate matrix of Maezio® along with an applied matt coating fully meets the requirements for high-wear components. The completed part passes rigorous safety and performance requirements, and is resistant to impacts, chemicals and the weather. The Makrolon® polycarbonate on which Maezio® is based also offers high thermal stability, so the wheel blade insert can survive braking-induced temperatures.
From ultra-thin seat shells and fold-out tables at the concept stage to these elegant production wheels in a new carbon look, Maezio® is your production-ready solution for ultra-strong lightweight car components.
With Maezio® thermoplastic composites, we can work with automotive manufacturers to develop a completely new part from scratch in a very short time - an ideal solution for any OEM that needs a slim, lightweight and robust surface and structural material with a premium touch and feel. Maezio® is easy to process and offers a 70% lower carbon footprint than alloy alternatives.
Market Development Manager for Maezio® Composites, Covestro