Bond-Laminates expands Tepex output to cater to demand from auto sector

Bond-Laminates, a wholly owned subsidiary of speciality chemicals company Lanxess, is expanding production capacity for its Tepex fibre composite at its Brilon site, Germany, by around 75% in the period up to summer 2014. A total of 1,300 sq m is being added to the building complex in Brilon, comprising a new production hall and supplementary storage areas and office space. Tepex materials are used in the automotive, sporting goods and electronics industries, among others.

"The cars of the future will have to meet the strictest of standards - not just in terms of safety and design but also in matters of fuel consumption and environmental compatibility," says Werner Breuers, member of the Lanxess Board of Management. "That is why one year ago we acquired Bond-Laminates, and in particular its innovative Tepex lightweight plastics, to expand our product portfolio to meet the megatrend of 'Green Mobility'. We are expecting strong demand in the long term and are further investing in this area of business."

Tepex primarily comprises thermoplastics that are reinforced with fibres of various other materials such as glass or carbon, depending on the field of application. Tepex products are characterised by their high strength and stiffness, while also being extremely lightweight and economic to process, says the company.

In the automotive industry, these materials are making new types of design possible, enabling heavier metal components to be replaced by many parts. Tepex can thus help reduce the weight of vehicles, thereby also cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, while also offering safety properties. The following example calculation truly shows how the rigorous deployment of lightweight components can positively impact a car's fuel consumption and pollutant discharge: by cutting 100 kg off the weight of a vehicle originally weighing 1,400 kg that consumes 8 l of fuel over 100 km, it is possible to reduce consumption over this distance by 0.5 l, and CO2 emissions by 11.65 g/km.

One prominent example of the use of Tepex in the automotive industry is in the Audi A8, where the high-tech plastic is featured in the lower beam. In addition, the fibre composites are also employed in the production of seat pans, front passenger airbags and car brake pedals. In the sports sector, the materials are used in the soles of modern soccer shoes, in bike components and in kayak, snowboarding, cycling and ski helmets. And in the electronics industry, extra-thin and robust Tepex sheets with an optically attractive surface are used in battery housings for state-of-the-art smartphones, while in loudspeaker cones top layers made of Tepex help generate impressive sound experiences.

Bond-Laminates was founded in Brilon in 1997 and currently employs around 100 people. The company has been collaborating with Lanxess since 2006 and the latter acquired the Brilon-based enterprise in September 2012.


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