Revolutionizing Automotive Materials: Braskem and WEAV3D Unveil Breakthrough Polypropylene Composites

In a groundbreaking partnership, Braskem, the foremost polyolefins producer in the Americas, has joined forces with advanced manufacturing and materials startup, WEAV3D, headquartered in Norcross, Georgia. Together, they are set to reshape the automotive industry with the development of cutting-edge polypropylene (PP) structural and automotive composite applications.

WEAV3D, known for its innovation in composite manufacturing, has introduced a game-changing approach. Their process involves feeding commercially available thermoplastic prepreg tapes into a composite forming machine that weaves and consolidates a lattice structure. This automated and continuous process not only significantly reduces waste but also slashes cycle times and material handling costs when compared to traditional composite reinforcement methods. Remarkably, this revolutionary machine can seamlessly scale to meet the size and production volume demands of automotive parts.

The real magic of WEAV3D’s lattice technology lies in its ability to transform lightweight PP materials into formidable substitutes for conventional options like steel. This innovation is set to supercharge the adoption of PP in automotive applications by achieving a remarkable balance between performance, weight reduction, and cost efficiency. By integrating Braskem’s exceptional PP sheets with WEAV3D’s ‘Rebar for Plastics,’ the partnership opens the door for Braskem to enter new structural material markets.

Amanda Zani, Technology Platform Manager at Braskem, expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “We’re excited to offer our clients new innovations and partnerships around high-performance polypropylene materials utilizing the WEAV3D lattice technology. As the automotive industry continues to roll out new electric vehicle designs, car builders need to re-think vehicle design with cutting-edge performance materials. With significant improvements in lightweighting, reduced costs, and higher material efficiency, combining Braskem’s PP portfolio with WEAV3D composite lattices provides a ‘win-win’ in terms of enhanced material performance and a more sustainable environmental impact, that can include the integration of natural fiber options.”

The benefits are impressive. When compared to conventional organosheets, the combination of WEAV3D’s lattices and Braskem PP results in a remarkable 50% reduction in sheet blank weight and costs, while increasing sheet yield from 25% to 45% by weight, ultimately leading to an astounding 63% reduction in trim waste.

Chris Oberste, President of WEAV3D, commended Braskem’s commitment to sustainable materials innovation, saying, “Braskem has been a fantastic partner throughout this project and really demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainable materials innovation. Leveraging its diverse portfolio, we worked collaboratively to identify the right combination of PP and reinforcing lattice material in order to minimize cost and maximize performance, while achieving formability and sustainability goals.”

The collaboration is set to make waves in the industry, and Braskem is poised to showcase their achievements at the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) TPO Global Automotive Conference in Troy, Michigan from October 1-4, 2023. Among the highlights will be a prototype beltline stiffener that exemplifies the future of automotive materials.

With this groundbreaking partnership, the future of automotive manufacturing is looking brighter than ever, promising not only enhanced performance and efficiency but also a sustainable path forward. Stay tuned for more exciting developments in the world of automotive materials.









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