Electric skateboards are an effortless way to get around and offer their fans a thrill that is quite different from conventional skateboarding. They are also extremely challenging to
design. The electric components, such as the battery and the motors that drive the wheels, need to be housed in very confined spaces to keep the board light, compact and easy for the rider to handle. The Tepex dynalite continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites from LANXESS open up new opportunities in that regard. One example isprovided by the OKMOS SL-01 electric skateboards from EMI SAS, a family business based in France.
Conventional skateboards usually consist of a relatively flat wooden board where the rider stands, also known as the deck. Under the deck on electric versions is a plastic box containing equipment including the battery. The EMI design, however, has a trough-shaped deck. With the exception of the motors, which are mounted on the back of the skateboard, this houses all the electric and electronic functions, including the battery. The trough is enclosed by a cover. Thanks to Tepex, the trough can be manufactured with a wall thickness of just three millimeters.
“Tepex is extremely resilient thanks to its high torsional and bending strength, and very lightweight into the bargain. The deck weighs just 2.5 kilograms,” says Jean-Marie Olivé, Technical Manager Application Development at the High Performance Materials (HPM) business unit at LANXESS. Despite the thin walls, the electric and electronic components
in the deck are safely protected against impact as well as moisture.
The trough-shaped composite part is manufactured in a single hybrid molding process step. First of all, a robot inserts the metal base plate used to attach the truck axles into an injection molding tool. It then places a heated and plasticized Tepex section in the tool. In one operation, the section is then formed and the entire structure overmolded with a short-glass-fiber-reinforced plastic compound. “The process is very efficient and highly integrated, meaning that not only can the base plate be fixed in place, but fastening elements, wire ducting and the battery holder can also be mounted in the same operation. That means that unlike many conventional electric skateboards, the latter does not have to be screwed in separately,” explains Jules Staedelin, manager for research and development at EMI.