Collaborative projects between FRIMO and RÜHL PUROMER win SPE Innovation Awards
Street Shark 3.0 is a step ahead of the rest
July 2015 - During the 16th Automotive Award Night on July 3, 2015, the most innovative and creative solutions for vehicle production as well as communication tools related to vehicle production were awarded. Both Innovation Awards given in the categories of Body Interior and Body Exterior went to RÜHL PUROMER and FRIMO this year. FRIMO also received two additional awards in the category of media & publications. Both their running ad campaign as well as the FRIMO Plastics Joining Configurator App secured second place in their respective categories.
Street Shark 3.0 is a step ahead of the rest
The innovations submitted by RÜHL PUROMER and FRIMO are extensions of the collaborative project Street Shark, initiated by FRIMO, which already received recognition in America at the 2014 JEC Innovation Award. The collaborative partners, in addition to FRIMO and RÜHL, include the companies dstyle, Eschmann and Huntsman. These now award-winning solutions, demonstrated using two modified BMW Z4s (Street Shark 3.0) by dstyle, offer a completely new interior approach, as well as more advanced sandwich-structure components for the body exterior area.
PU by RÜHL PUROMER wins the SPE Innovation Award 2015 Automotive Body Interior
In the “Body Interior” category, RÜHL’s interior decorative trims and mirror housings with sharkskin structure and a self-healing bionic surface won over the judges. This is the first time a sharkskin structure and self-healing surface have been used for interior applications. This was all made possible by a refined polyurethane material created by RÜHL PUROMER GmbH. Using a special surface and tool technology, the natural structure of shark skin is outlined in exquisite detail. This is possible using a combination of injection molding (thermoplastic substrate) or fiber composite technology (composite substrate, for example in PU-RTM) with RIM technology (surface).
A shark’s skin is covered with placoid riblets, or denticles. These ‘skin teeth,’ which can be as large as 1mm, are very similar to the shark’s actual teeth in structure, but vary greatly depending on their type and location on the body. One of the most important features of denticles is that they are inclined in the direction of flow and overlap like roof tiles. In addition to their protective function, the denticles also serve to reduce flow resistance: Upon closer inspection, you can see that they are corrugated in a longitudinal direction, like potato chips. These longitudinal grooves, also called striae or riblets, continue as overlapping teeth and cover large portions of the shark’s body- sometimes even the entire animal. These grooves channel the water flow, reducing turbulence.
This aerodynamic advantage can also be utilized in technological and industrial fields. The low processing viscosity of RÜHL PUROMER’s puroclear® system with color-depositing and self-separating properties - also a first in polyurethane surface technology - makes it possible to adopt this design from nature. The applied puroclear® system, which is already used in serial production for automotive interior parts in a related form, also possesses self-healing properties. What’s more, it can be dyed using a newly developed, downstream immersion process that is individual and yet efficient.
With the honorary speech from Dr. Rudolf Fernengel, “We have been able to experience surface solutions here which we would not have thought possible just weeks ago,” the coveted prize went to RÜHL PUROMER and project partners FRIMO, dstyle and Eschmann. In the Body Interior category, the sharkskin structure as a surface solution is definitely a new, dynamic, striking design element. The Body Exterior category is a very different story.
Sandwich lightweight construction with functional surface by FRIMO wins the SPE Innovation Award 2015 Automotive Body Exterior
The market demands for fiber composite parts vary greatly: large-surface components must be manufactured in short cycle times with manageable investments. The general demand for weight reduction is also underpinned by legal framework conditions and provisions of E-mobility. Intelligent processes and materials for large-scale serial manufacturing of light weight components are in demand. The polyurethane matrix material implemented for Street Shark has a low exothermic reaction and enables a process with low internal pressure during treatment, allowing the use of standard equipment. At the same time, intelligent sandwich construction allows weight reduction and an increase in the stiffness of the component. Furthermore, because of its low clamping force, it is possible to work with ceramic tools, which allow detailed structure outlining of series parts. For the Street Shark technology demonstration, FRIMO decided to employ a sharkskin structure as a bionic surface, which has been frequently described but never actually presented as an RTM component.
For this, the hardtop and engine hood were transformed with a bionic surface in a sandwich method of construction and the resulting weight and flow resistance advantages have already been proven. Just touching the surface, you can feel the fine scale structure, modeled after real shark skin. This fine scale structure can be seen in the sharkskin surface used for Street Shark. The skin of a mako shark, known as a fast swimmer, was used as a model for the bionic surface, which leads to a reduction in air resistance as well as fuel consumption. The Street Shark 3.0 has already proven its aerodynamic advantage in independent wind tunnel tests. This functional solution convinced the jury in the Body Exterior category. The award went to FRIMO. For this project as well, RÜHL PUROMER, dstyle, Eschmann and Huntsman participated as project partners. In the next step, the self-healing effect was also applied to the exterior area, with the aim of achieving a symbiosis between interior and exterior with regards to “natural” sports performance and dynamics - Street Shark 4.0.
About FRIMO (www.frimo.com)
The FRIMO Group GmbH has additional production and sales locations, with over 1,200 employees in Europe, Asia, and the Americas as well as numerous international representatives. The FRIMO Group has been repeatedly recognized for excellent service. FRIMO has already received 22 SPE Awards, known as the “Oscars of the Plastic Industry.” In 2014, FRIMO was distinguished with the JEC Innovation Award in Atlanta for the joint project “Street Shark” (www.street-shark.com).The work of the FRIMO Group in the plastics processing industry includes a broad range of technologies, from polyurethane processing, flexible trimming, punching, pressing and forming, thermoforming, laminating, and edge folding, to joining and gluing. System solutions capable of large-series fiber-reinforced plastics (composite technology) processing are also part of the business. For this purpose, FRIMO offers its customers tailored tools, machines, and production systems as individual or complete solutions from a single source.
About RÜHL PUROMER (www.ruehl-ag.com)
With more than 45 years of practical experience, RÜHL PUROMER GmbH is one of the leading independent system houses for the development and production of polyurethane (PU) systems in Europe. Under the slogan of “Pure Diversity”, individually tailored, fluid 2-component PU systems are developed and produced - whether soft or hard; foamed, compact or with an integral skin; unfilled, filled or fiber-reinforced. RÜHL PUROMER GmbH’s clients process these fluid systems for a wide variety of structural parts, such as seat padding for office chairs, sound insulation parts in the automotive industry, armchairs and grips, orthopedic shoe inserts, isolation components for the construction and sanitation industries, casing components for medical technology, frames and profiles in the caravan industry, furniture edges for school furniture, parcel shelves, loading floors and exclusive wooden trim for cars. A further field of business consists of specialties in the field of polyester(UP) resins for glass fiber-reinforced plastics (GRO), with a focus on polyester (UP) foam resin systems. These efficient fiber composite systems are implemented when complex or large-scale components with good surface quality and low weight are required. Example applications include roof modules for special vehicles such as ambulances, rear modules and front masks for mobile homes or cladding parts for trucks.
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FRIMO Group GmbH
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