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Rockwell expands composites molding.

Rockwell International Corp.'s Plastic Products Div. in Troy, Mich., is expanding its composites molding operations and has many new projects under way.

First, Rockwell is adding 10%, or 50,000 sq ft, to its Centralia, Ill., facility. A large part of the expansion will house RTM production of truck hoods and body panels. Current RTM production in Louisville, Ky., will be moved to Centralia when the expansion is completed in July, and the Louisville plant will be closed. A somewhat greater proportion of the new space will be devoted to SMC molding. Centralia recently began production of a redesigned SMC roof for the Ford Bronco and a new SMC hood-and-fender assembly for a medium-duty GM truck. Soon, the plant will begin molding SMC roofs and liftgates for a 1993-model station wagon. In testing are doors and fenders made from a new flexible, damage-resistant SMC.

Rockwell eventually plans to mold hoods for Chrysler's new Viper sports car at Centralia. The hood is now in RTM, but Rockwell plans to convert it to SMC as volumes increase.

In addition, Rockwell Plastics' Newton, N.C., plant is working on new orders and advanced developmental programs for SRIM products. The company says it has a "state-of-the-art, cost-effective preform process," which "precisely aligns reinforcing glass strands in the resin matrix to attain specific, repeatable, high-strength properties. This material can take the place of steel in many body structural member applications." Newton currently molds SRIM rear seat-back ledges for Cadillac Seville and Eldorado models.

Another new development at Newton is a BMC that's said to withstand 20% higher temperatures than the BMC now used to produce engine-valve rocker-arm covers.

Meanwhile, Rockwell's Lenoir, N.C., plant, which specializes in stamping of glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT) sheet, has been awarded new bumper-beam contracts that extend through the 1998 model year. Lenoir reportedly is the world's largest molder of GMT bumper beams (currently for Ford, Mazda, Honda and General Motors). The plant will supply the millionth front-and-rear bumper-beam set for the Honda Accord, and will have produced more than 4 million GMT bumper beams total since 1989.
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Title Annotation:Processors' Page; thermosetting composites; Rockwell International Corp.'s Plastic Products Div.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:May 1, 1992
Words:348
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