DSM Engineering Plastics recently announced that Akulon PA6 resin has been selected by various OEMs and Tiers for various applications and automotive feasibility studies for oil sumps and oil pans use in under-the-hood. The engine and road tests are currently underway and the final design validation is expected by 2009 end. The first prototype parts in Akulon PA6 are based on multi-part designs, where the parts are welded together via vibration welding techniques. The main decision criteria for this selection of PA6 are weight, NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) and system cost reduction opportunities versus metal. Also important for the selection is better heat ageing resistance and better welding strength compared to PA66.
First results of the feasibility studies already indicate that the noise level with PA6 oil sumps is comparable to that of sumps from silent steel, when the design is optimized for plastics. According to Harry Siepel Application Manager Automotive: "applications such as oil sumps and oil pans, will be the change from metal and or aluminum into Polyamide in the next ten years". DSM's Akulon® Ultraflow®, PA6 is a high flow material with 20% lower cycle times in injection molding in combination with an excellent surface appearance, the company indicates.