Fibre-reinforced PA66 achieves high surface finish

Paul Boughton
3B, a specialist fibreglass company, together with Lati, an independent compounder, have combined their fields of expertise to deliver what is described as a breakthrough in engineering thermoplastics for high-aesthetic structural components. The companies say this development will create new opportunities for engineers and designers to achieve the dual goals of high structural performance and high gloss finishes, directly from the forming tools.
Replacing metal has long been the challenge of glass fibre-reinforced composites in order to reduce cost, complexity and weight. With the objective to deliver superior performance on these attributes as well as enabling opportunities on the aesthetic front, Lati and 3B have developed 50 per cent and 60 per cent glass fibre-reinforced Polyamide 66 grades called Latigloss 66 H2 G50 and 60.
3B has a long tradition in delivering innovative reinforcement technologies that are based on a deep understanding of market needs and a strong foundation in composite science. In order to meet the Latigloss product needs, 3B developed a product that not only delivers outstanding mechanical performance in the form of stiffness in PA66, but also has excellent wetability - which enables a very homogeneous dispersion to be achieved at high glass fibre loadings of up to 60 per cent. The result is a 3B chopped strand made from Advantex glass with an optimised fibre/matrix interaction.
Latigloss has already been used successfully to replace cast metal in structural applications, such as the vertical opening door hinges for high-end kitchen furniture. To meet the demanding challenges of this very sophisticated system, Lati worked closely with the design group Effegi Brevetti in order to optimise the geometry of the individual components that are tailored to the capabilities and benefits of reinforced PA. This resulted in a complete re-engineering of the hinge system based on finite element analysis, leading to an overall improvement of the geometry of the different parts. The influence of processing parameters on the moulded parts has been carried out as well, leading to satisfactory results from both the structural and aesthetic points of view.
Dr Ir Eric Martin, the thermoplastic product manager at 3B, comments: "Metal replacement continues to be a key theme in many industries as a contribution to reducing weight, CO2 emissions and cost. Glass fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composites have risen to the challenge to meet these demands while, at the same time, continuing to extend the boundaries of mechanical performance, long-term durability and surface appearance. As the gap between composites and metals gets closer, more industries and applications are benefiting from the advantages of low weight, design flexibility, corrosion resistance, colour and surface appearance. Within 3B, we are dedicated to developing sustainable and durable glass fibre reinforcement solutions for thermoplastic compounds. Working together with a partner of equal expertise, like Lati, has delivered a solution that once again offers designers and engineers greater flexibility and helps reduce component cost. This solution delivers superior performance while minimising our impact on the environment".
Ir Luca Posca, the technical support and marketing manager of Lati Industria Termoplastici, states: "Our key challenge was to guarantee outstanding mechanical properties and dimensional stability as well as unparalleled surface finish in complex geometries. The performance of the 3B Advantex reinforcement solution has allowed us to maintain PA 66 as the base polymer which is particularly suited to highly engineered components as well as being process friendly and price competitive. Latigloss will undoubtedly find a large application base in many markets such as automotive and household appliances".
Eric Martin concludes by saying: "Our sizing technology and process, in combination with Advantex glass, has allowed us to turn a chopped strand product into a truly value-added contributor to an engineering solution".
Examples of Latigloss applications based on 3B glass fibre reinforcement can be seen at the 3B stand at K2010 (Hall 8b Stand C79).
For more information, visit

Recent Issues