Double Slush Skin, a new trim cover with distinctive technical and sustainable properties



Double Slush Skin, a new trim cover with distinctive technical and sustainable properties

2021-07-29

To satisfy quality appearance, both haptic and visual, and meet light weighting requirements is at the forefront of Grupo Antolin Cockpits division strategy. With this in mind, Antolin has developed a new covering material with unique technical properties to meet environmentally sustainable demands and improve perceived quality. An article written by our expert Georg Kirchbaumer.

Over the past 25 years, the possibilities deriving out of the technology of SLUSH Skin (and other molded Surfaces) are the differentiation in terms of quality appearance for high-end instrument panels. Besides the benefits in aspect, we have to mention an additional advantage, the great degree of design freedom. Furthermore, the soft feel of SLUSH Skins (with foam placed beneath) is a true advantage of molded Skins.

Historically, Grupo Antolin was instrumental in the evolution of the development of the SLUSH technology. Although various material tryouts or actual serial applications were in use - the times and certain environmental mainstreams sometimes put the material (PVC) and its use in question. Also, the high weight of PVC and the rather high energy consumption in the production process of SLUSH Skins are negative contributors.

Consequently, Grupo Antolin started in 2017 a new development for molded Instrument Panel surfaces and the result of this work is a new Double SLUSH Skin.

This new Skin has identical design freedom with at least 30% less weight, better behavior at low temperatures and less energy consumption during the production process (around 10% less). The Skin, constructed with two layers, is overall slightly thinner in comparison to the conventional SLUSH Skin.

PVC based Skins contribute with about 2 kg to the overall mass of a vehicle (depending on the size). Conventional PVC Skins (daily production at about 65.000 units) account every day to about 130 metric tons of mass that also need to be transported.

By reducing the weight by about 30%, the economic advantage is obvious, not only when used in the vehicle, but also during the production process of the skin the consumption of energy is lowered by approximately 10%.

The main differences in the production of the skins are:

The weight savings for Double SLUSH are realized via the following contributors:

 
•    A: Thinner layers can be produced more accurately
•    B: 2nd layer is foamed PVC (fiber reinforced)
•    C: Overall thickness ~ 8% less  

Besides the benefits in mass and energy consumption, other additional advantages derived from Double SLUSH are:


•    With the fiber reinforcement inside the second (back) layer, the Skin behaves more stable in all temperature conditions.
•    Furthermore - as the fibers protrude out of the back layer, the adhesion between the double SLUSH Skin and the PU foam behind is 3 times higher in direct comparison with conventional PVC Skin.
•    Also, the overall skin shrinkage is reduced compared to conventional PVC SLUSH Skins – which must be considered in manufacturing the models and GALVANO shells (GALVANO shells are made via a Nickel galvanization or a Nickel de-positioning process).
•    Double SLUSH has also a much better behavior in very cold temperature conditions (minus 35° Celsius).
•    With the positive attributes, the weakening for the Airbag (AB) opening can be adjusted to a lower Residual Wall Stock (RWS).

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