Michigan, US – Marelli has developed a lightweight PU foam designed for foam-in-place (FIP) uses, especially in main dashboard panels, resulting in a 40% weight reduction with new tooling (8% using current tooling). The foam also reduces thickness by 50% – supporting aesthetic styling, and geometric possibilities – and lowers raw material costs by 20% compared to current foams. The company says it also has a decreased environmental impact because of reduced material usage, lower density, and 80% less VOC content.
The innovation has been recognised by technology firm Altair, and the Center for Automotive Research, both based in Michigan, US. Marelli's "Lightweight Urethane for Interior Products" has received a 2023 Altair Enlighten Award for the Future of Lightweighting.
Marelli says the foam fulfils customer expectations for interior quality, while also being environmentally beneficial. Developed jointly with Covestro, the innovative foam addresses excess weight, without compromising strength or function. Marelli will focus on applying this foam to main dash panels, offering automotive production efficiency, and potential for EV improvement.
“We are honoured to receive the 2023 Altair Enlighten Award for our polyurethane foam technology,” said Tsukasa Fujii, president of Marelli’s Interior Experience division. “This innovation provides substantial weight savings and reduces volatile organic compounds as compared to previous materials. This accomplishment is proof that our advanced engineering efforts can go a long way in helping automakers achieve tough lightweighting and sustainability targets.”