Lighter weight component reported to provide smoother engagement, less friction and noise
COLUMBUS, Ohio, and PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico—Hexion’s EPIKOTE™ epoxy resin system was specified by Rassini for an innovative rear suspension system in Ford Motor Company’s new 2021 model of the F-150 pickup truck, Hexion said in a release.
The hybrid suspension is reported to achieve the same stiffness and durability as a conventional multi-steel leaf spring pack while reducing weight by 16 kilograms. Its lower weight has a positive impact on the vehicle’s overall carbon footprint and enables increased payload. The lighter weight component leaves also provide a smoother engagement, along with less friction and noise, according to the release.
Rassini developed and manufactures the hybrid rear suspension, comprising a parabolic main steel leaf supported by a composite helper, at its Piedras Negras facility in Coahuila, Mexico. It leveraged its investment in composite manufacturing capabilities to produce the composite helper spring on new high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM) production lines.
Rassini, one of the world’s largest producers of suspension components for light commercial vehicles, is said to be the only fully integrated producer of brake rotors in America. Hexion is a developer of thermoset resins that serves customers in global markets, including adhesives, coatings, and composites.
Hexion’s EPIKOTE™ Resin TRAC 06150 with EPIKURE™ Curing Agent TRAC 06150 Epoxy resin system is said to enable “robust mass production of the composite helper spring.” The EPIKOTE™ Resin TRAC 06720 binder is essential for fabric stabilization and automated preforming of a large directional stack of fabric plies, and is fully compatible with the fast cure resin system, Hexion said in the release.
Hexion reported that it is constantly adapting its composite resin portfolio, in partnership with industry developers, to answer manufacturers’ increasing needs for strong yet lightweight alternatives to metal that can be produced at faster speeds. Its continued advances in resin technology can help manufacturers reduce vehicle weight and hasten production of high-performance composite components, according to the release.
“We are extremely pleased to be a valued partner with Rassini in support of Ford’s iconic F-150 truck,” said Francis Defoor, Hexion’s automotive segment leader, in the release. “Our expertise in epoxy chemistry, as well as our application and process know-how, make us a leading development partner for lightweight composite technology.”
Hexion said in the release that its epoxy matrix exhibits thermo-latent behavior, which is reported to provide a low mixing viscosity for good fiber wet-out and rapid in-mold cure after impregnation. The overall short cycle time in high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM) processing leads to efficient capacity use. The epoxy composite helper exhibits a long fatigue life, even under exposure to severe application conditions like hot weather, high humidity, and contact with automotive fluids, according to the company.