Michigan Firm Commercializes New Material for Automotive Interiors

A company in Fowlerville (between Brighton and Lansing) has commercialized a new addition to a series of resins for automotive interiors that it says offers many improvements compared to its competitors.
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DoForm resins in car cockpit
Asahi Kasei Plastics North America has introduced a new addition to a series of resins for automotive interiors that it says offers many improvements compared to its competitors. // Photo courtesy of Asahi Kasei Plastics

A company in Fowlerville (between Brighton and Lansing) has commercialized a new addition to a series of resins for automotive interiors that it says offers many improvements compared to its competitors.

SoForm, part of the Thermylene family of materials from Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc., features scratch resistance with improved surface feel and durability over competitive materials, the company says. The SoForm technology also offers benefits such as low gloss, low emissions, chemical resistance, and structural performance.

“Durability coupled with low gloss and improved haptic surface feel are key to interior performance and customer end use criteria now more than ever,” says Jane Horal, marketing and business development manager at Asahi Kasei Plastics North America. “SoForm provides an attractive solution to meet these demanding requirements.”

Currently, soft-touch paint, over-molding, or a foam in place with skin is been required to meet these customer demands. SoForm, says Asahi Kasei Plastics, is an alternative to improve the design, manufacture, logistics, and value chain of the production process, providing additional cost-savings and eco-friendly options for the manufacturer.

The SoForm product is available in 10 percent, 15 percent, 20 percent and 25 percent glass fiber filled grades. All are commercialized and available in either natural, color at the press, or pre-colored for injection molding.

Automotive application areas for these novel grades include, but are not limited to, instrument panels, door panels, and associated touch points (map pockets, console sides, mirror surrounds, and seat trim).

SoForm also is designed for the Industrial segment with applications such as furniture armrests and durable wear surfaces. The durability and surface finish enable both automotive and industrial segments to provide customers with improved longevity and luxury, according to the company.

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