Long perceived to be in decline, thermoset resin molding is being revived by two Japanese companies as a process with ample potential to contribute to lightweighting in electric vehicles (EVs). Injection machine builder Nissei Plastic and development partner Sumitomo Bakelite, a supplier of thermoset resins, held an in-house event at the Nagoya Congress Center on Aug. 2 to 4, 2023, in Aichi Prefecture, showcasing multiple thermoset molding solutions and more to 230 companies from the automotive industry, including OEMs and tiers. Home to Toyota Motor and Honda plants, Aichi is considered the capital of automobile manufacturing in Japan.
Traditionally, thermoset injection molding has been utilized in Japan to mold relatively small components for the electrical sector, typically weighing in at 150 g or less. Nissei Plastic and Sumitomo Bakelite, however, have their sights set on components tipping the scales at 1 kg or more for applications such as e-axle invertor covers. Prototype parts molded on a Nissei FWX760III-130BK thermoset injection molding press using biomass-derived phenolic resin tip the scales at 1.4 kg but nevertheless are reportedly 50 to 70% lighter than conventional steel covers and 20 to 50% lighter than aluminum versions. Read more