WEB EXCLUSIVE: The new Renault Clio sports what’s said to be the first all-thermoplastic, mono-material lift gate on a commercial vehicle. Inspire PP compounds from Styron LLC, Berwyn, Pa., are used for the three-part lift gate, which met Renault’s requirements for 10% weight reduction target and easy recyclability. “The automotive industry has been looking for alternatives to steel for lift-gates for many years. Weight savings, styling freedom, and function integration are the main objectives,” says Styron Automotive marketing manager Marjolein Groeneweg.
Renault initially approached Styron two years ago after seeing Styron’s engineering work for the structure development of the front-end carrier of the VW Golf using Inspire long-glass-fiber polypropylene (LGF-PP). Styron offered both material development and processing support on the Clio project. The final lift-gate design consists of three parts:
•The inner skin is injection molded of an Inspire talc-filled PP compound.
•The structural part is produced with a specially developed Inspire LGF-PP concentrate, which is diluted on the molding machine via dryblending with a PP copolymer.
•The outer skin is made with a specially designed Inspire At-Press 70% talc masterbatch, PP impact copolymer, and color concentrate.
Styron also supported Renault in selecting the appropriate plasticating screw to maintain the required glass-fiber length during molding.