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Secure connections in numerous colors

  • Connectors made from LANXESS polyamide 6 for cable harnesses in electric vehicles
  • Highly flame-retardant thanks to a halogen-free flame-retardant package
  • High heat stability of the material and color
  • Robust thanks to high strength and toughness

Cologne, November 26, 2021 – Cable harnesses are among the most complex assemblies found in electric vehicles. Their numerous connectors not only all have to be marked in different colors to indicate a whole range of functions and support assembly and maintenance, but they also have to be highly flame-retardant and mechanically robust. With the polyamide 6 compound Durethan BKV30FN04, LANXESS has developed a material for these connectors that has already been tried and tested in numerous series applications – including cable harnesses for electric models produced by a European-US automotive manufacturer. “In contrast to polyamides that are flame-protected with red phosphorous, our halogen-free flame-retardant compound can also be dyed with bright, vivid colors like orange (RAL 2003) and yellow,” says Bernhard Stoll, an expert in the use of plastics in electrical and electronic components at LANXESS. “The compound and color exhibit a high level of heat stability, which means that the different connectors can be easily and reliably distinguished throughout the vehicle’s entire service life.” The connectors are manufactured by Amphenol-Tuchel Electronics GmbH in Heilbronn, a subsidiary of the US-based Amphenol Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electrical connectors. 

Yellow Card entry for all colors

The polyamide 6 compound from LANXESS is characterized by its outstanding flame-retardant properties. In the UL 94 flammability test of the US testing institute Underwriters Laboratories Inc., it achieved the V-0 classification (test body thickness: 0.75 mm). “We have the compounds listed by UL on the Yellow Card under ‘All Colors,’ which also includes colors like yellow, orange and blue. This means that processors will not have to color the product themselves or have the product undergo the time-consuming UL certification process. They can simply use our pre-colored compounds as they are, which helps to cut costs,” says Stoll. 

Tough performers

Cable harnesses run along the entire length and width of the vehicle and bundle all the different on-board power supply lines for electric and electronic functions like power converters, battery charging systems, electric drives and infotainment systems. The total length of the cables can reach several kilometers, which is one of the reasons why cable harnesses are so heavy. The complexity of cable harnesses makes them extremely expensive components, which is why the connectors must not break during installation. “Our compound is extremely strong and tough, meaning that the connectors can easily withstand bumps or being dropped,” says Stoll. The thermoplastic is highly resistant to chemicals, which means that its strength and stiffness are barely compromised upon contact with electrolytes or coolants. It also exhibits excellent tracking resistance, achieving a CTI (Comparative Tracking Index, IEC 60112) value of 600 in orange.

Wide processing window

Durethan BKV30FN04 is used for connectors in the field of not only electromobility but also signal transmission technology and industrial engineering. “Here, too, our compound has proved suitable for injection-molding in a stable process within a wide processing window. The material’s flame-retardant additives leave hardly any deposit in the mold, which helps to ensure a long tool service life and efficient production,” says Stoll. And when it comes to occupational hygiene, the polyamide 6 is easier to handle than equivalent compounds that are flame-protected with red phosphorous. 

You can find more detailed information about LANXESS products and technologies for the fields of new mobility and flame-retardant solutions at resp. 

Forward-Looking Statements
This company release contains certain forward-looking statements, including assumptions, opinions, expectations and views of the company or cited from third party sources. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause the actual results, financial position, development or performance of LANXESS AG to differ materially from the estimations expressed or implied herein. LANXESS AG does not guarantee that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors, nor does it accept any responsibility for the future accuracy of the opinions expressed in this presentation or the actual occurrence of the forecast developments. No representation or warranty (expressed or implied) is made as to, and no reliance should be placed on, any information, estimates, targets and opinions contained herein, and no liability whatsoever is accepted as to any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein, and accordingly, no representative of LANXESS AG or any of its affiliated companies or any of such person's officers, directors or employees accepts any liability whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from the use of this document.

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LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 6.1 billion in 2020. The company currently has about 14,900 employees in 33 countries. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of chemical intermediates, additives, specialty chemicals and plastics. LANXESS is listed in the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World and Europe) and FTSE4Good.