At ChinaPlas 2023 last month, we continued to observe that one of the trends driving opportunity for innovation in the plastics industry is electric vehicle adoption.
Across its 17 halls, Asia’s largest plastics show featured an abundance of auto-related exhibits, including many for electric vehicles (EVs). The increased focus on EV solutions makes sense, given China’s leadership in EV sales. In 2022, one in four vehicles sold in China was an EV, according to China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Globally, EV sales are accelerating, with Goldman Sachs Research forecasting EVs will account for half of new car sales by 2035.
This transition is creating an opportunity for innovation among plastics manufacturers. From charging infrastructure and battery performance to lightweighting and connectivity, automakers are looking to plastic-based solutions to help improve reliability, thermal management, energy efficiency and design flexibility, among other challenges. Star Plastics and our partner LATI are ready for this – with formulating expertise in thermally conductive and self-extinguishing high-performing engineered resins. These materials can be used in battery charging systems, electronics and LEDs, and structural solutions for smart metal replacement, among other applications.
Below is one example of how we are using our expertise to help solve challenges in the EV industry.
Developing a Weatherable Outdoor Technology for EV Charging Stations
Challenge: With a growing number of EVs on the road, there’s also a need for more car charging ports and EV stations for drivers to power up their vehicles. This outdoor electrical equipment must be able to withstand extreme weather conditions. It also needs to be impact resistant for durability, flame retardant for safety, and be processable and come in a wide range of colors for design flexibility.
Solution: With this in mind, Star Plastics has engineered an innovative polycarbonate-siloxane (PC-Si) copolymer material that can withstand cold temperatures, is impact resistant and features an elevated relative thermal index (RTI) without losing material processability, to serve applications in the outdoor electronics market. This innovative PC-Si copolymer is UL-recognized, REACH and RoHS compliant and provides superior impact resistance when compared to general-purpose PC at temperatures as low as -40°C. Additionally, the improved flow of this material results in less stress in complex molded components, adding to the overall part performance. This material comes in high- and low-flow options, is available in custom colors and is recyclable.
“Along with the weatherable, cold-temperature impact requirements, our PC-Si solution has flow characteristics that enable us to solve complex tooling and processing issues,” said Samir Mutwalli, Sales Channel Leader at Star Plastics. “Plus, as sustainability grows in importance for decision-makers, this cold-temperature impact product is not only a solution that can hold up against impact and is durable in the cold temperatures, but it is one that is both reusable and recyclable.”
This PC-Si copolymer is well-suited for applications such as EV charging stations, solar panels, battery boxes and other outdoor electrical components and enclosures.
Read the full case study here.