A busy helper in the garden: Automatic lawnmower made by Husqvarna shines with BASF’s dark-green Luran S
04/10/06, Automatic lawnmower made by Husqvarna shines with BASF’s dark-green Luran® S
Round the clock, seven days per week, come rain or shine – the first automatic lawnmower made by the Swedish outdoor equipment manufacturer Husqvarna completely liberates gardening enthusiasts from the tedious and time-consuming chore of mowing the lawn. In order for the Automower from Husqvarna™ to keep on trucking for years on end despite continuous operation outdoors, Husqvarna’s engineers have sheltered the inner workings of this machine inside a dark-green body made of Luran® S. This highly weather resistant material manufactured by BASF can withstand even extreme weather conditions. This is why the surface and colors of the programmable robotic lawnmower still shine after years of exposure to heat and rain. Luran S is a specialty plastic based on an Acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylate copolymer (ASA) and belongs to the PlasticsPlus™ line of BASF’s styrenics.
Good weathering resistance
“Originally, the Automower was made of a standard plastic and required painting in order to achieve a fade-resistant color,” explains Geoff Nelson, BASF Account Manager for Luran S. “Luran S is UV-resistant and does not need to be painted, so the body can be manufactured faster, simpler and more cost-effectively.” A non-painted body will also resist scratching better. The secret behind the good weathering resistance of Luran S: The elastomeric component of this material consists of a highly resistant acrylate rubber. Moreover, the dark-green pigments were specially selected to be both durable and colorfast.
The development partnership between Husqvarna and BASF at Husqvarna’s production site in Aycliffe (Great Britain) started in the summer of 2005. “The support provided by BASF in optimizing the flowability of the plastic convinced us that with Luran S, we had found the right material for the body of our lawnmower,” explains Gary Blenkinsopp, Technical Manager at Husqvarna (Aycliffe), a subsidiary of Electrolux, the Swedish electrical appliance manufacturer.
The battery-powered Automower is designed for continuous operation. Once it has been programmed, it can mow and maintain lawns of up to 1800 square meters. In the summertime therefore, the body of the lawnmower can be exposed to extreme heat from the inside and from the outside at the same time. This is where an injection-molding brand like Luran S has an edge: It is top-notch when it comes to high thermal resistance and mechanical strength – properties that are very hard to achieve with conventional standard plastics.
Another advantage of using Luran S comes to the fore during the production of the body for the lawnmower. The Luran S type 757G employed is particularly easy flowing, thus guaranteeing that the relatively large, complex shaped part is uniformly filled and is molded with a high quality surface finish. The plastic body, measuring 70 cm in length and 60 cm in width, acts as a collision sensor. It also protects the chassis that houses the entire inner workings of the device: the electric motors, the PIN coded electronic unit, an alarm system and several sensors. These sensors can detect the demarcation wires that come with the Automower system and that are placed along the perimeter of the lawn. The sensors, however, can also recognize obstacles such as trees and pets.
Information on the product is available at www.automower.com.
BASF has bundled a product line of specialty plastics comprising high-performance styrene plastics, biodegradable materials and foams under the umbrella of PlasticsPlus™. Whenever high requirements have to be met, our experts, working with the products of PlasticsPlus, can provide a great deal of diversity, reliability, partnership as well as innovative solutions.
Note for the editorial offices: Press photographs can also be downloaded from www.basf.de/pressphotos under the key word “plastics”. In the near future, text and image will also be available in the press release archive of BASF Plastics at www.basf.de/plastics/pressreleases.
Additional information is available at www.basf.de/plastics.
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