Asahi Kasei Plastics North America (APNA) introduced SoForm
, a new engineered resin series as part of its Thermylene family – Asahi Kasei’s portfolio of specialty chemically coupled glass fiber reinforced polypropylenes. SoForm is a cost- and process-optimized material for automotive interior surfaces and industrial durable goods.
SoForm features excellent scratch resistance with haptic surface feel and improved durability compared to competitors. It also offers key 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; SoForm provides an attractive solution to meet these demanding requirements,” said Jane Horal, marketing and business development manager at APNA.
The material is available in 10%, 15%, 20% and 25% glass fiber-filled grades. All are commercialized and available in either natural 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 touchpoints (map pockets, console sides, mirror surrounds and seat trim).
SoForm also excels in the industrial segment with applications such as furniture armrests and durable wear surfaces. The durability and haptic surface finish enable both automotive and industrial segments to provide customers with improved longevity and luxury.
"SoForm has unique performance compared to traditional talc reinforced thermoplastic elastomers due to the increased scratch and mar properties,” said Todd Glogovsky, VP of sales and technology at APNA. “For applications that have higher durability requirements, SoForm will be a key product."
Currently, soft-touch paint, over-molding, or foam in place with skin has been required to meet these customer demands. SoForm is an alternative to improve the design, manufacture, logistics and value chain of the production process.
As the material eliminates the needs to paint, over-mold, or foam in place, it can provide additional cost-savings and eco-friendly options for the manufacturer.