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A fast sports car that doesn’t fade in the sun

21 March 2006

An imposing look and unmistakable design. That is how Volkswagen is show-casing its limited edition Golf R 32, a 250 bhp sports car with a particularly striking radiator grille. When it came to designing the black areas at the front of the car, SLM-Kunststoff-technik, a plastics-processing company located in Oebisfelde, in former East Germany, chose Luran S 788 T, a styrene specialty made by BASF.

This material meets Volkswagen’s requirements for outstanding appearance and good stability without the need for any coating. This gives a cost advantage over the polycarbonate blends used in comparable applications. Luran S is an acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylic ester copolymer (ASA) - part of the PlasticsPlus range of BASF styrenics.

A highly UV-stable material was needed so that it remained glossy black year in, year out. Owing to its acrylate-based rubber, Luran S is considerably more resistant to yellowing than conventional standard plastics. This material also met the special requirements in terms of chemical resistance and dimensional stability under heat, as well as depth of colour. Often, with other plastics, the desired colour effect can only be achieved by applying a coating, but Luran S 778 T dispenses with that processing step.

Thanks to close teamwork between SLM and BASF technical experts in designing the mould, the support structure has been reduced to a single part. “In spite of its complex structure, the injection-moulding process is easy to carry out. With this part, we have also met VW’s demand for the easiest possible assembly,” explains Thomas Brüsch, managing director of SLM-Kunststofftechnik.

In addition to making the front part for the Golf R 32, SLM also uses this BASF ASA to manufacture the radiator grille for the new Passat. The cooperation between SLM and BASF is geared for the long run. SLM’s stated goal is to employ high-quality plastics for demanding applications. Particularly with its styrene plastic specialties, BASF is aiming to tap into new, profitable business niches for medium-sized plastics processors.

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