Machine Design

Composites Mimic the Feel of Steel

When P.L. Porter Co., a manufacturer of automotive seat-reclining mechanisms, went looking for a new material to replace the metal on a swing arm component, it found that Verton RF, a long-glass-fiber-reinforced nylon 6/6 structural composite from LNP Engineering Plastics, provided the strength required and reduced costs by one-third.

The swing arm is the seat-reclining mechanism that is actuated by a handle on the side of a car seat. Because it was replacing a steel part, high strength and stiffness were required from a material that could mimic the feel of steel. Verton RF composites provided the strength to withstand both normal loads and those that come with abuse.

The company also used Lubricomp RFL, a glass fiber-reinforced lubricated nylon 6/6 composite from LNP, for a dump-lever component of the same seat-reclining mechanism. Actuating the lever tilts the seat forward so passengers can climb into the back seat.

Lubricomp has an internal lubricant which reduces friction and wear, and is glass filled for strength. This allows greater design freedom and eliminates external lubricants. An added benefit to using Verton RF and Lubricomp RFL composites for the seatreclining mechanisms was reducing the number of parts. By designing in a composite form, the company was able to incorporate the seat dump within the reclining mechanism itself rather than having it as a separate device.

Information for this article was provided by LNP Engineering Plastics, Exton, Pa.

© 2010 Penton Media, Inc.

TAGS: Materials
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