Unlike particle-foam, such as expanded polypropylene (EPP), which contains a lot of air. This produces parts weighing 60 to 80 g / l, while the same part made from normal polypropylene (PP) would weigh almost 900 g / l. Thus, the weight reduction which can be achieved compared to thermoplastics is 90 percent. Particle-foam also has many other valuable properties, including very good thermal insulation and energy absorption, it useful, for example, in the field of impact protection. Expanded polystyrene (EPS), EPP and other foam could for a long time only be used to manufacture cladding panels, packaging products and, in the automotive sector, bumper parts (impact protection). The reason being that these materials have one major drawback: they have an unattractive porous surface, one to which nothing can be attached, either, being 90% air. Hence, the material has till now hardly been perceived as an alternative to thermoplastics in lightweight component design.
There is a constant search for new production methods for lighter components made from plastic, especially in the automotive industry. However, experiments to reduce weight using expanded foam polymers have so far failed, as the coarse-grained finish of the resulting surfaces does not meet manufacturer and end customer requirements. These components made of particle-foam were also difficult to install, as the porous material structure meant secure mountings for fixing other parts could not be attached. For this reason, the Heinze Group has developed a standard mounting and fixing system for particle-foam components using K-Fix® products. These elements are enclosed in expanded polypropylene (EPP) and create an inseparable bond with the component. This cuts the weight by up to 20 percent compared with conventional plastic components. K-Fix® products also have good insulating properties and withstand even heavy impact.
Based on many years of practical experience developing components for lightweight design, the plastics experts at the Heinze Group have created a design catalogue with the various types of K-Fix® which are most commonly used. As a contract manufacturer, we also help our customers with special requests. We therefore provide comprehensive advice in the early stages. For instance, it is always possible to adjust and position the K-Fix® elements separately, if required.