Plastic is a logical and proven choice for vehicle designers and engineers who want to reduce weight, improve performance, and manage costs. But until recently, molded-in color plastic parts were not the go-to choice for exterior vehicle components, mainly because they couldn’t meet performance and appearance targets.
Times have changed. New polymer formulation technologies are breaking down this stigma. Molded-in color parts now boast high performance, while helping to hide scratches and endure the elements as well as - or better - than painted parts.
Here are the top three automotive components that can benefit from conversion to molded-in-color:
Grilles are one of the most prominent design features on a car, and often include intricate geometries such as cut-ins, corners and embedded logos. It can be a challenge to paint these designs without overspray, drips and other imperfections. Advances in molded-in color technologies allow geometrically complex parts to be produced without compromising on color. Rejections because of painting imperfections are eliminated, and what little scrap is left can be easily recovered and recycled back into the manufacturing process, saving time and money.
External mirrors are another critical part of a vehicle’s design. The front-facing portion of a mirror housing typically features a curved surface, which is both aerodynamic and visually pleasing. Components that protrude from the body are prone to scratching and impact, making molded-in color a wise choice. While a scratch on a painted layer may reveal the white surface underneath, molded-in color evenly distributes pigment throughout a component, keeping vehicles looking newer, longer.
Bumpers and other large parts require significant time and space to paint, which can increase manufacturing complexity and cost. Eliminate the paint and watch cost and complexity ramp down. To make the switch, consider additives such as UV inhibitors that can be infused into molded-in color bumpers to protect against fading and prolong color integrity.
Raw materials, scrap and manufacturing complexity can comprise as much as 50 percent of the total cost of a part. That’s also the amount that you can save by switching to molded-in color components.
Learn more about the benefits of molded-in-color by contacting an expert at Avient today!