Covestro and Ensinger to present joint developments in thermoplastic composite components for the sports industry

Stepping up the game

Continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite bicycle crank lever
Ensinger’s automated manufacturing process and Maezio™ continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites from Covestro come together for robust bicycle components, including a crank lever (pictured above).

Pittsburgh, September 19, 2019 — Covestro and Ensinger are combining their technologies in composites development with a focus on offering high-performance thermoplastic carbon composite components for the sports industry, using automated manufacturing processes. The two companies will present their joint developments – thermoplastic composite bicycle components – at the upcoming Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX), in Anaheim, California, September 23-26.

Visitors to the largest composites show in North America will find robust bicycle components made with Maezio™ continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite materials from Covestro, at booths Y30 (Covestro) and Z31 (Ensinger). These components range from a crank lever and wheel rim to seat post clamps. Thanks to the design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities of Ensinger in thermoplastic composites, these parts can be manufactured in a cost-efficient, automated process.

The value of thermoplastic composite parts

For decades, the sports industry, in particular the bicycle market, has benefited from the high strength and lightweight qualities of classic carbon fiber-reinforced composites. The challenge, however, remains in the intrinsic brittleness of the epoxy-based composite structures that can lead to part failure, as well as quality problems arising from a very labor-intensive manufacturing process.

Thermoplastic composites, like polycarbonate-based Maezio™, bring new possibilities. Their intrinsic toughness is a welcomed property for sporting goods, such as mountain bike components, which are at the risk of impacts and crashes during service. Furthermore, they enable automated manufacturing processes that can significantly reduce human errors and ensure consistent product quality, while improving the cost/performance ratio, especially for production in high-wage countries.

“There’s a need for automated or partly automated manufacturing with constant quality and a new, more impact-resistant material, which is exactly what Ensinger and Covestro bring to the table,” says Christian Braun, vice-director of Ensinger Composites Schweiz GmbH. “We are seeing an increasing number of manufacturers trying to get thermoplastic components developed, so the bicycle market is definitely ready for this technology.”

A high-performing matrix material

“On the one hand, the matrix material polycarbonate offers clear advantages compared to other thermoplastics,” says Arne Boettcher, market development manager for Maezio™ composites, Covestro. “It can better handle temperature swings (heat-resistant up to 100°C) and humidity changes and enables excellent surface quality. This makes it ideal for sporting goods applications. On the other hand, polycarbonate exhibits better fracture toughness and allows for automated production in short cycle times compared to the “classic” thermoset epoxy composites.”

“These advantages, combined with the need for bicycle components to be produced in high volumes, make Maezio™ composites a desirable material option to meet the unfulfilled needs of the bicycle industry,” adds Boettcher.

About Covestro LLC:

Covestro LLC is one of the leading producers of high-performance polymers in North America and is part of the global Covestro business, which is among the world’s largest polymer companies with 2018 sales of EUR 14.6 billion. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, electrical and electronics, and healthcare industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 16,800 people at the end of 2018.

Find more information at www.covestro.us.

About Ensinger:

The Ensinger Group is engaged in the development, manufacture and sale of compounds, semi-finished materials, composites, technical parts and profiles made of engineering and high-performance plastics. To process the thermoplastic polymers, Ensinger uses a wide range of production techniques, such as extrusion, machining, injection moulding, casting, sintering and pressing. With a total of 2,600 employees at 33 locations, the family-owned enterprise is represented worldwide in all major industrial regions with manufacturing facilities or sales offices.

Covestro Contact:

Lauren West, Phone: +1 412 413 4141
Lauren.West@covestro.com

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This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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