Frequently used for off-road assignments or for driving on extremely poor roads, jeeps and SUVs need to be fitted with particularly durable underbody panels. An innovative material solution for such custom parts is based on the continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites of the Tepex brand made by LANXESS’s subsidiary Bond-Laminates GmbH. These enable the manufacture of virtually indestructible engine shields, fuel tank covers and center tunnel covers which were specially developed for the MLB53A platform. They are already in use on several standard models such as the Bentley Bentayga. In the future they will also be applied in the Audi Q7. “In a trial on a rough and rocky test track, the components withstood the extreme wear and tear of the underbody hitting the surface as well as gravel impact with virtually no damage at all,” says Harri Dittmar, Tepex Applications Developer. On top of that, the composite material simplifies the production process. “Custom parts can be produced in the same mold as the corresponding standard vehicle components. Processors don’t need to turn other materials and can eliminate investments in additional molds and presses with higher clamping forces,” adds Dittmar.
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