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Flexible Fairings Fight The Flab

01 October 2001

Italian motorcycle manufacturer switches from aluminium to polyamide
engine fairings, gaining design and production flexibility - and a 40%
weight reduction

Introduced back in March 1999, Piaggio's 'low emission advanced engine
range' (LEADER) family of motorcycles originally featured aluminium
engine covers. But even as the new LEADER products were being launched,
the company was already in discussions with DuPont about replacing the
metal covers with a lighter engineering polymer, which would also
simplify production and provide greater design freedom through injection
moulding. Piaggio's choice was a polyamide - DuPont's Zytel HTN - as
engine division design director, Paulo Nesti explains.

The material displayed the best combination of mechanical
characteristics and processing ease of any polymer we tested. We also
found that covers made from Zytel HTN provide far better sound and
vibration dampening characteristics compared with similar polymers.
Moreover, the production benefits resulting from our switch from
aluminium to polyamide include a cost saving of around 25% and an overall
weight saving of 40%.

Zytel HTN engine covers will feature on the 2001 models of Piaggio's
Hexagon, Runner and X9 motorcycles.

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