Custom Molded Plastic Assembly
For the John Deere Company
Ashley Industrial Molding (AIM) collaborated with IDI Composites International to introduce a high temperature, cosmetic, black pigmented, polyester sheet molding compound (SMC) which is now identified as E-205. This new material is tailored to meet the demanding requirements of John Deere’s exhaust after treatment styling panels.
The high temperatures associated with the exhaust after treatment panel and the limitations of urethane paint on SMC panels drove the need for out of the box thinking and approach the program in an atypical manner. Urethane paints have an extended exposure temperature of 200°F; whereas, the high temperature resistance of E-205 SMC material can withstand extended exposure temperatures up to 340°F with close to zero color change. This molded in color (pigmented) SMC material also offers a reduction in cost over painted panels.
While the polyester resin system found in E-205 has one of the highest Relative Thermal Index’s in the industry, the temperature requirements for the exhaust after treatment panels were right on the edge of polyester limitations. To prove out the material for the application, a custom cyclic heat test fixture was developed to replicate the conditions that the material would observe in the field. Temperature profiles and heat cycles were all provided by customer engineering groups and integrated into the custom test fixture. Both color and mechanical property retention were recorded and found to be acceptable in the worst case scenario’s for the panel’s exposure requirements. In addition to heat testing, accelerated weathering testing further proved out the material for the application. Accelerated weathering testing indicated virtually zero color fade or property degradation after 4,500 hours.
While the exhaust after treatment program focused on a high temperature application; AIM specialized in the design, development, and production of pigmented materials for any application. For any questions regarding cosmetic pigmented materials, please inquire with our Advance Engineering or Sales team!