MTA-BME Research Group

Industry 4.0 assisted, one-pot manufacturing of valued-added polymer systems with multifunctional coating in the first step for automotive industry and extending to further marketable application fields

Project ID:
Supported by:
Nemzeti Kutatási, Fejlesztési és Innovációs Hivatal (NKFIH)
1 April 2019 - 30 September 2022
Supervisor (BME):
Dr. Andrea Toldy
Participant researchers (BME):
Dr. Toldy Andrea
Dr. Pomázi Ákos
Consortium partners (BME):
PEMÜ Műanyagipari Zártkörűen Működő Részvénytársaság

Project summary

The widespread propagation of dynamically developing polymer engineering applications is hindered by the flammability of the polymer matrix in many areas. The increasingly stringent safety requirements necessitate the effective flame retardancy of the polymer systems used, while maintaining or possibly improving their mechanical and other properties. In addition to the use of flame retardants in the matrix, it is a particularly effective flame retardancy method when the flame retardant polymer is applied as a coating to the outer surface of the composite. The advantage of the multilayer structure is that the flame retardant does not reduce the mechanical properties and the glass transition temperature of the base polymer, and the targeted flame retardancy on the surface makes it possible to reduce the amount of additive necessary,which is both a cost reduction and environmentally advantageous. From the processing point of view it is also advantageous that this method avoids the unequal distribution and elimination of solid-phase flame retardants in injection technologies. However, previously developed coatings did not provide adequate aesthetic quality and mechanical protection, weather resistance, abrasion and abrasion resistance were limited. These disadvantages can be eliminated through multifunctional so-called gelcoat type coatings. By using gelcoat, the desired functions can be assured without altering the array-phase properties of the composite component. The common feature of the present application methods is that the coating is subsequently applied in a separate step to the finished product, making it difficult to increase the size and automation of the manufacturing technology. The aim of the project is to develop a customizable coating family that can meet the specific needs of the automotive industry and other industries and allow the application of the coating in the same technological step as the product. The desired properties are obtained by mixing the appropriate components in required proportions. Combined additive systems are also used to produce multifunctional (e.g. flame retardant, antistatic, conductive, UV-resistant, heat-resistant) coatings. From the technological implementation point of view, it is a significant advancement that the delivery of the main component of the product to the mould and the coating is made in the same manufacturing unit. The key to the reliable production of coated products from polyolefin made by injection moulding (e.g. sun visor, waste bin) and from polyurethane made by foaming ( mats,cushions) is the quality control and regulation implemented at the same time as the manufacturing process, which we plan to realize by the introduction of industry 4.0 information technology platform. The result of the development is to increase the competitiveness and production efficiency of PEMÜ, to continuously ensure and improve the quality of the product and to continuously optimize the efficiency of energy use. The customizable coating family and one-step coating technology to be developed as well as the results of the adaptation of industry 4.0 methods will be widely used in all industries where strict security requirements apply, but the productivity, up-scaling and automation of the manufacturing process is also important. Adaptable coatings will be suitable for the environmentally friendly surface modification and flame retardancy of many technical polymers and thermoplastic commodity polymers. In addition to the benefits of reduced flammability and toxicity, the development provides an environmentally friendly alternative to the polymer product market and provides a competitive price level due to the application of commodity polymer matrix, decreased amount of additive as a result of the coating, single-step manufacturing technology and the introduction of in-line quality control to the manufacturing process and immediate feedback minimizing the amount of production waste.

Project results

Section 1
1 April 2019 - 31 Marc 2020
We produced new phosphorus-containing flame retardants and additive combinations, and then developed new flame retardant coatings using them. Based on the results of the flammability tests, the increasing phosphorus content improves the flame retardancy of the coatings: even with the lowest applied, 5% phosphorus content, the developed coating has reached a self-extinguishing, V-0 grade. The coatings were then applied to reference and flame retardant reference polymer samples, followed by flammability (LOI, UL-94 and mass loss type cone calorimetry (MLC)), mechanical (dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and three-point bending) and adhesion tests. At 10% phosphorus content, the developed coating reached the flame retardancy level of the commercially available product, while the coating with 15% phosphorus content already significantly exceeded it. By increasing the concentration of ammonium polyphosphate (APP) in the solid phase, the so-called intumescent nature of the coating also intensified. We investigated the feasibility of spraying and one-step coating technologies and selected the most promising formulations for industrial use

Section 2
1 April 2020 - 31 Marc 2021
Based on the results of the first project phase, BME has selected and produced the most promising new flame retardants and new additive systems in the quantities required for further testing. These were then used to produce multifunctional coatings that could potentially be applied in a single-step process. Based on the rheological test results, two solutions were developed to facilitate the industrial application of high viscosity coatings. Firstly, we prepared and tested modified formulations in which low viscosity liquid additives were partially substituted for the solid additives used so far, and secondly, we prepared a solvent mixture that allowed the spraying of high viscosity coatings. In addition to the rheological tests, the coatings themselves were also qualified by flammability and conductivity tests in accordance with the industry requirements established by the PEMÜ. The base polymers to be coated were then selected in accordance with the intended industrial use. In addition to the reference, additive-free base polymers, reference flame retarded base polymers were prepared to serve as a basis for comparison when testing the coated base polymers. Then, the coatings were applied to the reference and reference flame retarded base polymer layers by stepwise layer formation, including brushing and spraying. The adhesion between the coating and the base polymer was qualified by pull-off tests, and the flammability and mechanical testing of the coated polymers was performed

Section 3
1 April 2021 - 31 Marc 2022

Section 4
1 April 2022 - 30 September 2022

Project-related publications

  1. Kovács Zs., Pomázi Á., Toldy A.: The flame retardancy of polyamide 6—prepared by in situ polymerisation of ε-caprolactam—for T-RTM applications. Polymer Degradation and Stability, , 109797/1-109797/17 (2022) IF=5.03 Q1
  2. Pomázi Á., Toldy A.: Development of fire retardant epoxy-based gelcoats for carbon fibre reinforced epoxy resin composites. Progress in Organic Coatings , 151, 106015/1-106015/12 (2021) 10.1016/j.porgcoat.2020.106015 IF=5.161 D1
  3. Toldy A.: Recyclable-by-design thermoset polymers and composites.
  4. Toldy A., Pomázi Á., Szolnoki B.: The effect of manufacturing technologies on the flame retardancy of carbon fibre reinforced epoxy resin composites. Polymer Degradation and Stability, 174, 109094/1-109094/10 (2020) 10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2020.109094 IF=5.03 Q1
  5. Toldy A., Pomázi Á., Szolnoki B.: The effect of manufacturing technologies on the flame retardancy of carbon fibre reinforced epoxy resin composites. in 'European Meeting on Fire Retardancy and Protection of Materials (FRPM19) Turku, Finland. 2019.06.26-28.,2 (2019)
  6. Pomázi Á., Toldy A.: Effect of flame retardant filtration on the fire performance of carbon fibre reinforced epoxy composites made by resin transfer moulding. in 'International Conference on Composite Materials (ICCM22) Melbourne, Australia. 2019.08.11-2019.08.16.,1-12 (2019)

© 2014 BME Department of Polymer Engineering - Created by: Dr. Romhány Gábor