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Eliminating Undesirable Emissions from the Start

VOC-optimized covering materials by Continental already fulfill the requirements of new Asian regulations

September 2017 Benecke-Hornschuch Surface Group informed the expert audience The IMAT workshop “Odor and Emission” in Shanghai about the newest findings to help eliminate undesirable emissions from the start.

The IMAT workshop “Odor and Emission” in Shanghai focused on solutions that vehicle manufacturers can use to address regulatory changes and higher customer expectations for emissions in vehicle interiors. Dr. Roland Freudenmann, who is responsible worldwide within Continental for the research laboratory at Benecke-Hornschuch Surface Group, and Zhiqiang Gu, the manager responsible for the research laboratory at Chinese subsidiary Benecke Changshun Auto Trim in Zhangjiagang, informed the expert audience about the newest findings to help eliminate undesirable emissions from the start, including the use of water-based lacquers.

New emission requirements for vehicle interiors in Asia in particular are posing fresh challenges. New regulations in China, Korea and Japan are leading to higher requirements for the surface materials used. These general regulations, such as GB 27630 in China, apply to the entire vehicle and must be applied in emission testing procedures for surface materials.

Globally established and efficient testing procedures for surface materials include VDA 278 for VOC (VOC = volatile organic compounds), VDA 275 for aldehydes and ketones, and VDA 270 for the odor. “It is important that the age of the material samples tested is defined uniformly, since emissions decrease over time,” Gu emphasizes, recommending seven-day storage at room temperature as the standard age for test samples. “This is already more demanding than the forthcoming Chinese law GB 27630.”

Analyses of the standard polyvinyl chloride cover material under this testing procedure have shown that only one of the legally regulated materials is present: toluene, a lacquer component. A new water-based lacquer can eliminate these emissions. Continental already offers this type of VOC optimized polyvinyl chloride cover material: Acella® Eco already fulfills the requirements of the new Asian regulations.

An analysis of standard TPO products only showed toluene, xylene and traces of ethylbenzene. These substances are also part of the solvent-based lacquer formula and can be eliminated by using a new water-based coating system for the Xpreshn® surface material by Continental. “The new water-based lacquer for surfaces made of polyolefin fulfills the highest requirements with regard to wear, chemical resistance, flexibility and thermoformability, sometimes even better than previous solvent-based lacquers,” Freudenmann says, emphasizing another advantage.

Dr. Roland Freudenmann at the IMAT workshop: “Our water-based lacquers allow us to avoid undesirable emissions right from the start.”

Zhiqiang Gu recommends seven-day storage at room temperature as the standard age for test samples.