Centre console with TPU surface for the Golf VI
The surface of the new VW Golf VI’s centre console is made out of Elastollan thermoplastic polyurethane from BASF.
BASF’s client, Key Plastics Europe from Lennestadt, Germany, brought the construction unit to the production stage in a very short development time.
“The goal was,” says Ralf Hesener, Development Manager at Key Plastics, “to continue the look of the instrument panel into the interior,” for which the correct materials were required. So Key Plastics quickly got together with the material manufacturers to carry out innumerable experiments to test the material’s characteristics.”
The centre console is made of a material combination of PC-ABS for the underlying components and the TPU as surface material. The cover is the main construction unit of the two-piece centre console. The design and feel follow through to the instrument panel and footwell cover on the driver and front seat passenger side – a complex shaped part which has to be very durable. The upper side is functional with a storage compartment, ashtray, climatic control panel, cup-holder and the chromium plated gearshift cover. Another feature is the soft surfacing, which is easy on the legs and knees.
The cover is manufactured by means of a two component spray casting technique. This was completely new territory for the developers, because for the first time under this procedure, an extensive and complex construction unit of this type was manufactured, which has a surfacing comparable to slush skin.
Hans Kampsen, head of sales and technical servicing of thermoplastic polyurethane within the automobile range and based at BASF in Lemförde, puts it in a nutshell: “With our aliphatic TPU, we offer a clear advantage to the customer with the total cost of the construction unit. The expensive subsequent processing step of varnishing can be saved due to the high fastness to light.
By using Elastollan, we’ve created a high-quality surface without a lacquer finish.” Moreover, by spraying the circumferential soft components along the contact areas to the neighbouring parts, an anti-squeaking effect was created.
The versatile material has a whole host of benefits. “Particularly important for the application”, Kampsen describes “is the 100% cream resistiveness of our material. There can be no flaking of the surface even after long-term use.” Hesener adds: “We have achieved a continuous grained surface with the centre console, without edges or recesses.”
The part was nominated for the SPE Award 2009: in the category “Body Interior” it ranked second place.