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Roll Coated Fully Recyclable PP Foam Backed TPO Soft Skin IP Topper Panels for Vehicle Applications

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000225962D
Publication Date: 2013-Mar-15
Document File: 3 page(s) / 207K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

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Roll Coated Fully Recyclable PP Foam Backed TPO Soft Skin IP Topper Panels for Vehicle Applications

Current Process for Hand Wrapped Toppers

Hand wrapped IP topper panels for high end vehicles are traditionally hand wrapped using an extruded polyurethane or PVC foil or sheet laminated to a woven polyester mesh spacer fabric that is then bonded to flame treated TPO or PP substrates by spraying a thermoset adhesive on both surfaces. This composite is then placed in a heated bladder press for bonding. This process has many manual steps and can be costly mainly due to the use of the engineered spacer fabric and over use of the spray adhesive.

Proposed Method

Materials:

·         IP topper (substrate) is 100% untreated TPO (no flame or plasma treat)

·         Pre-grained TPO skin/foam laminate material (0.6 mm soft TPO skin layer pre laminated to a 1.5mm XLPP foam)

·         Adhesive is a roll coat grade POR (thermoplastic based adhesive).

Adhesive application:

The B-side (foam ) of the laminate is coated with approx. 70-80 gr/m2 adhesive by a roll coater. The skin is pre cut in patterns and stitched relative to the part design, in this case we used a high line vehicle RH topper panel. (see Figures 1 and 2).

The roll coater is designed to coat flat material. In our case the stitch is very flat except for the small corner where we have a 3D shape (Figure 2). By roll coating only the skin in this process the adhesive application is very even and there is little waste. The current process uses a spray adhesive on both the skin and substrate which creates overspray. There is also less incidence of scrap creation with roll coated adhesive because the adhesive is not activated until it is heated which allows for better postioning of the skin  on the part before it is press bonded into place.

TPO topper panel

TPO precut skin

 
       

Figure 1

                                                                                                           

Flat stitch area

 

Corner with 3D stitch

 

Figure 2

The roll coater gap is adjusted between the application roller and the pressure roller for optimum adhesive coating.

Skins are now ready for lamination to the topper substrates. There is a 4 hour window to accomplish this with this particular adhesive. The current spray adhesive only allows for a few minutes of open time to bond the skin to the substrate. Adhesive open times of either method, roll coat or spray can be adjusted to suit the production environment.

Lamination process:

First it is important to position and fix the stitched line on the substrate accurately (in this case there is a slot or ditch on the bottom of the substrate) (Figure 3). Clamps can be used to keep the assembly in place if neccesary. For the purpose of these prototypes we resorted to placing a few staples evenly positioned in the ditch. The production process can use other means of locating the...