Class 8 gets first plastic hood and fender

The International 9900ix premium conventional is the first heavy-duty truck to offer an all-plastic hood and fender assembly, according to International Truck and Engine Corp. Made from liquid molding resin, the hood is said to be 25% lighter than common fiberglass composites, as well as less expensive to manufacture. Other benefits are said to include better impact resistance, greater dimensional accuracy and an improved surface finish. The hood material, supplied by Metton America Inc., flows under low pressure into relatively low-cost closed molds created electroforming physical models from CAD files. The material sets in just a few minutes, according to Metton, producing a finished hood ready for painting. In contrast, fiberglass hoods require labor intensive “hand lay-up” processes that can take hours to complete. The International 9900ix, a premium on-highway tractor build for up GVWs up to 140,000 lbs., is offered in a variety of lengths, all of which can be accommodated quickly by the new plastic molding process, the company says.

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