Elastic, impact resistant and especially durable: the newly developed trim part is high-gloss black and gives the optical impression of a direct extension to the SUV's rear window.
 
A second generation "Black Beauty"
The development of a new rear trim strip made of PMMA is among the Scherer & Trier innovations for face-lifting a premium SUV. This new trim part employs a plastic with exceptionally advantageous characteristics. With respect to appearance, cost and weight, our polymer experts have achieved a high-quality reincarnation.

Scherer & Trier was also the supplier for the rear trim strip (which sits on the rear hatch just beneath the rear window) of the preceeding model. In the past this part was a combination of several components, including a steel insert, adhesively bonded to one another then painted in the vehicle's color. The new strip was to be as optically appealing as its predecessor but have less weight and be more economical to produce. The developers selected polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), commonly called plexiglass, a thermoplast with a number of very advantageous characteristics.

Lightweight, brilliant, durable
The biggest advantage is that the rear trim strip can now be fabricated from a single component. This not only reduces the overall weight of this trim part substantially but also affords significant cost savings in production. "The new rear trim strip is a prime example of how high-value perception can be achieved at comparatively low cost through innovation", explains Reiner Wachter, Project Manager at Scherer & Trier. "The targeted weight reduction, about 500 gram per part, is of additional significance with respect to current discussions about CO2 emissions."
  But the material also has its plus points with respect to optics and assembly. The new trim part is high-gloss black and, because of its very homogenous surface, highly brilliant. Though plexiglass is more sensitive to scratches than painted surfaces, it responds well to polishing to compensate for this, thus it retains its surface brilliance. These characteristics enhance the appeal when employed next to a glass surface. The highlight of this: the strip gives the optical impression of being a direct extension of the rear window on this premium SUV.

Success principle, innovation
Naturally the critical characteristics of the material must also be considered in its processing and utilization. The stress crack sensitivity of PMMA was accommodated by the development of a sophisticated tooling concept which incorporated compression molding. For the application, the northern Bavarian experts chose a floating-clip method of fastening that permits the material to expand and contract without tension as it reacts to hot and cold ambient temperatures.

The material's ability overcome constraints in a manner that was indeed advantageous. There is uniform consensus among Scherer & Trier developers about the key to success: the combination of proven technology and fresh ideas put innovative solutions figuratively into motion.
 
 




published
2008/04/09



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