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Light Work: Dupont and Magna explore adhesive liftgate bonding

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— A partnership between Canadian auto parts manufacturer Magna International and material and chemical giant DuPont is looking to elaborate on the concept of using adhesives rather than welding to bond vehicle liftgates.

Spurred by increasing demand for lighter-weight vehicle solutions as electrification spreads, the two companies are currently attempting to simplify the manufacturing process, reduce the required bonding time and accelerate the curing process.

The challenge comes in ensuring a flexible process that works for all automakers and meets customer demands, said Sid Asthana, global director of material science for Magna.

“There are a lot of moving parts that we tried to bring together to make it finally work,” he said. 

Magna first began endeavouring in thermoplastics joining in 2019 with FCA’s Jeep platform.

The companies’ first bonded liftgate appeared on the 2020 Acura RDX and the 2019 Jeep Cherokee, which won the company a first-place finish in the body exterior category at the 2018 Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Awards. Advanced joining techniques can also be found in the BMW i3 and the Nissan Rogue, courtesy of the part’s manufacturer. 

The use of thermoplastic joining techniques can also tread beyond functionality, according to Magna.

“The i3 hatchback is a great example of how a Magna thermoplastic liftgate can enhance the look of a vehicle. The taillights are behind the exterior liftgate panels, which are glass. Chaaya points out that the i3’s composite liftgate is designed to look seamless and contemporary⁠—like an iPad or an iPhone,” said the company.

Magna also maintains the technology will be “a critical component” in future automobiles, especially autonomous vehicles.

Click here for more information on Magna’s liftgate technology.

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