Benecke-Kaliko Expands Range of Products in China and Launches TEPEO® Production
Cost-efficient and close to customers: Locally produced compact foils and foam laminates / Benecke-Changshun Auto Trim invests €7 million in new production line / Major interest from Chinese OEMs
The expertise that has made Benecke-Kaliko one of the worldwide leading premium suppliers of foils and laminates for automotive interiors is increasingly in demand in the Chinese market too. With its locally produced TPO products, Benecke-Changshun Auto Trim is responding to the rising demand for high-quality materials for the automotive sector. "This allows us to finally offer Chinese vehicle manufacturers in particular exactly what they have been looking for: cost-efficient and first-class local TPO production," says Uwe Wüst, General Manager of Benecke-Changshun Auto Trim. "It also sees us expanding our range of products." And Zhang Lianghua, Deputy General Manager of Benecke-Changshun, adds: "We have been producing Yorn® foam laminates and Acella® surface materials in Zhangjiagang since as early as 2006. But the TEPEO® launch sees Benecke-Changshun reaching a whole new level."
A practically brand-new plant - complete with production center, a number of adjoining rooms, and a warehouse - was built for the TPO production line. Used for instrument panels, door trims, center consoles and other parts of a vehicle interior, the foils are produced in a hall covering an area of 9,000 m2. Benecke-Changshun Auto Trim invested €7 million in the project. The new production line has created 25 additional jobs.
"We are already making a positive impression here in the market with our classical premium TEPEO® products but also particularly with our highly innovative ultra-scratch-resistant foils TEPEO® Protect and TEPEO 2® Protect", says Wüst. Chinese original equipment manufacturer SGM plans to furnish the instrument panels in many of their models with TPO material from Benecke-Changshun. "Other Chinese OEMs have shown strong interest, too. And what is more, Daimler, BMW and Ford are going to use TPO foils from Zhangjiagang," says Wüst.
TEPEO® and TEPEO 2®: eco-friendly and lightweight
TPO production activities in Zhangjiagang will start with the production of TEPEO® foils for the door trim in the BMW 3 Series. Automotive manufacturers have been relying on TEPEO® and TEPEO 2® compact foils and foam laminates for years because they meet the highest demands. They emit very few emissions, are virtually odorless and they are designed for excellent air conditions in vehicle interiors. What is more, these surface materials boast healthful properties. They are halogen-free, do not contain any plasticizers and are recyclable.
The decorative materials enable complex component geometries that previously could only be achieved with alternative technologies. In addition, the foils combine eco-friendly, lightweight construction with an exclusive interior design. TEPEO® and TEPEO 2® are based on polyolefins and have a lower density than PVC materials. This makes them up to 50 percent lighter than standard materials. Furthermore, they offer a high level of aging resistance against light, heat, chemical influences, and mechanical influences and have an excellent look and feel.
Thanks to their low environmental impact - from raw material harvesting through production and use to disposal - TEPEO® and TEPEO 2® foils are particularly suitable for manufacturers focusing on sustainable vehicles. This is because, as Benecke-Kaliko's study shows, the lightweight TEPEO® foil is 48 percent better than a standard PVC foil in terms of its CO2 footprint.
TEPEO® Protect, TEPEO 2® Protect and DecoJect(TM) : Scratch-proof and resilient
However, the ultra-scratch-resistant TPO products TEPEO® Protect and TEPEO 2® Protect are also included in Benecke-Changshun Auto Trim's manufacturing spectrum. With these foils, Benecke-Kaliko has developed materials that possess a unique quality: they evade pointed objects and let them simply slide off, making scratches a thing of the past.
These surface materials can be used wherever scratches are prone to mar the vehicle's appearance: on the instrument panel, center console, storage compartment, or on door and interior trims. The secret of its scratch-resistance lies in the use of special polymers that simply elude pressure from sharp objects. Upon contact with hard edges, the elastic material immediately yields before returning to its original form. The foils are also sealed with a highly friction-resistant polyurethane varnish. This prevents damage caused by frequent cleaning with cleaning agents. TEPEO® Protect and TEPEO 2® Protect also possess the same qualities as TEPEO® and TEPEO 2®. The decorative thin foil DecoJectTM is a cost-efficient alternative to soft-varnished injection-molded parts. It stands out due to its comfortable feel and its wide range of design options.
"Be it with conventional Yorn® foam laminates and Acella® cover materials, or with our now fully localized wide range of TEPEO® and TEPEO 2® products, we are offering Chinese automotive customers the perfect solution to suit almost every requirement for almost each part of a car's interior," says Wüst. "In addition, our production activities at all of our international locations meet the same high standards. This is something our customers can rely on."
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