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Innovators in automotive recognized

Source:Plastics News Asia

Date Published:11/17/2017 05:11:19 PM

Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE®) Automotive Division announced the winners of its 47th-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Competition
The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE®) revealed the winners of its 47th-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Competition, the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries. The announcement was made on November 8, 2017 during the 47th SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, held at Burton Manor in Livonia, Mich., U.S.A.  The Body Exterior category winner was also the year’s Grand Award winner.   
 
In the same event, Dr. Suresh Shah, retired, Senior Technical Fellow at Delphi Corporation, formerly General Motors – ACG (Automotive Components Group) was honored as the “2017 Lifetime Achievement Award” winner. Dr. Shah is a technical specialist, with over 30 years of experience and more than 45 Intellectual Properties including patents and trade secrets  more than 40% of these are in production, which is far more than the 4% industrial average. Dr. Shah advanced plastic processes including gas-assist injection molding, co-injection molding, microcellular molding, hybrid plastic/metal molding, direct (inline-compounded (ILC) long-fiber thermoplastic (D-LFT) composites and thin wall molding.  He also advanced material developments involving natural fiber composites, nanocomposites, thermoplastic polyolefins (TPOs) and thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs).  This expertise lead to several game changing innovations including the single piece, all plastic door hardware module known as SuperPlug, and TPO thermoformable skin for instrument panels.  He also developed many other innovative applications for exterior, interior and under-the-hood components.  His rare combination of expertise in materials, processes, part design and analysis; has earned him a reputation as one of the best problem solvers in the industry. Shah has won more than 20 prestigious awards internationally.  He is respected as an industry expert and a key opinion leader and has been interviewed over 30 times by industry trade journals, presented as a keynote speaker more than 15 times and has presented more than 80 technical papers worldwide.
 
For the SPE’s Automotive Innovation Awards Program, dozens of teams made up of OEMs, tier suppliers, and polymer producers submitted nominations describing their part, system, or complete vehicle and why it merits the claim as the Year’s Most Innovative Use of Plastics. This annual event typically draws over 800 OEM engineers, automotive and plastics industry executives, and media. As is customary, funds raised from this event are used to support SPE educational efforts and technical seminars, which help educate and secure the role of plastics in the advancement of the automobile. 
 
This year’s awardees include: 
 
CATEGORY:  Aftermarket
INTEGRATED FLOOR BEDLINER DIVIDER
OEM Make & Model:  2017 General Motors Co.   Chevrolet Silverado pickup
Tier Supplier / Processor:  Penda Corp. / Penda/Durakon   
Material Supplier / Toolmaker:  A. Schulman / Penda Corp. 
Material / Process:  Polytrope TPP1026EU TPO / twin sheet thermoforming
 
Description: This first time twin sheet thermoformed bedliner divider is integrated into the bedliner as one piece. A $275 cost avoidance resulted by not having to manufacture a separate floor divider part.  The divider incorporates a molded in locking feature to secure the divider into the truck wall when it is raised.  It eliminates the need for a cargo net or separate divider allowing the customer to put smaller items in the bed without having the items move and slide around while the vehicle is in motion. Dual textures are achieved on both sides of the part and the design can be applied to different vehicle models and brands via an insert for different logos.
 
GRAND AWARD & CATEGORY:    Body Exterior
STRUCTURAL AGS WITH INTEGRATED LOOSE LAYER CONSTRUCTION
OEM Make & Model:  2018 Ford Motor Co. Ford Expedition luxury sport-utility vehicle (SUV)
Tier Supplier / Processor:  Magna Plastcoat / Magna Plastcoat
Material Supplier / Toolmaker: Celanese / Integrity Tool
Material / Process: Celstran 40-20 PP GF/ injection molding
 
Description:  This, possibly the largest 2-shot AGS in production today, was designed with an integrated locating and attaching system for consistent fit between the grille and headlamps, eliminating the need for FEM assembly, dunnage and shipping. In addition to reducing variable and piece costs by an estimated $5 with an entirely thermoplastic solution, the enhanced design achieved $16 internal assembly cost reduction per vehicle and eliminated around $45 auxiliary costs by negating the need for a FEM.  As a result, Ford avoided an estimated $2 million in dunnage, assembly plant line and handling costs. Improved parts consolidation also phased out the need for four separate fasteners and associated labor.  Using LFRT technology to develop a structure with polypropylene offset an estimated 3 lbs. of weight over alternative metal and nylon hybrid designs considered. An equivalent steel structure would weigh 18 lbs. more than the LFRT design, which delivers the required durability. 
 
CATEGORY:    Body Interior
INSTRUMENT PANEL CARRIER
OEM Make & Model:  2017 BMW AG Mini Countryman subcompact crossover utility vehicle (CUV)
Tier Supplier / Processor:  International Automotive Components (IAC) 
Material Supplier / Toolmaker: SABIC / Siebenwurst
Material / Process: Stamax PP LGF/ injection molding
 
Description: Long glass fiber PP injection molding via structural chemical foaming with core-back process enabled the production of this part with very low VOC emissions, meeting VDA 278 specification. Extensive CAE work predicting warpage of the foamed part provided valuable insights, allowing for the modification of tooling in advance. Use of foaming means means less material is required resulting in a 15% weight savings, fewer emissions and less cost.
 
CATEGORY:    Chassis/Hardware
POWERTRAIN MOUNTING CLEVIS BRACKET
OEM Make & Model:  2017 General Motors Co.  Cadillac XT5 crossover sport-utility vehicle (SUV)
Tier Supplier / Processor: Hutchinson 
Material Supplier / Toolmaker: BASF Corporation / not stated
Material / Process: Ultramid A3WG10 CR BK00564 PA66+50%GF / injection molding
 
Description: This engine clevis bracket is the first composite mount designed for a 6 cylinder engine, passing peak loads of 25 Kilo-newtons of force. The injection molded part replaces metallic solutions (stamping, welding and die-casting) used previously resulting in a 45% weight save.  NVH was also improved (reduction in cabin noise) due to the damping characteristics of the polyamide compared to aluminum. Corrosion resistance is improved and the part can be recycled at end of life.  Seven clevis brackets were developed for different powertrain combinations with no warranty claims after 1.5 years of production.
 
CATEGORY:    Environmental
NEXT GENERATION SUSTAINABLE CONTENT BIO FOAM
OEM Make & Model:  2018 Ford Motor Co.  Ford Fusion sedan
Tier Supplier / Processor:  International Automotive Components (IAC) 
Material Supplier / Toolmaker: BASF Corporation / not stated
Material / Process: Elastoflex 3496/102 Resin, 113/4 Iso PU/ / foam in place
 
Description: This application provides a sustainable alternative to conventional petroleum based foams -  at a lower weight and cost with more design flexibility. Caster based foam provides for lower molded density, the ability to be foamed in as little as 4 mm cross sections, and superior bond strength to mating materials. Foam in place tooling, where a cast PVC, TPE, or TPU skin is placed in the mold with a hard plastic retainer and the foam is injected between these two components, is used for processing.  A weight savings of 20 - 40% (depending on foam thickness) and a cost savings of $2 per average foamed in place instrument panel is achieved.
 
CATEGORY:    Materials
LOW FRICTION POLYMER FOR CHAIN TENSIONER ARMS
OEM Make & Model:  2017 Ford Motor Co.  Ford F-150 pickup & Ford Mustang sports car  
Tier Supplier / Processor: Borg Warner
Material Supplier / Toolmaker: DSM / not stated
Material / Process: Stanyl HGR2  PA46(+PTFE) / injection molding
 
Description: This usage of a modified PA46 resin to enhance stiffness, on vehicles powered by a 5.0L V8 engine, was a drop-in replacement for PA66, for enhanced wear and friction performance. The resultant fuel economy savings (0.4%), from rotational torque reduction in the cam-shaft (0.5Nm), was equivalent to a 40lb weight reduction, and at 1/10th the cost. Annual environmental benefits include reduction in gas consumption by 12,000 Barrels and green-house gas emissions by 5,000 Tons. This innovation is highly translatable, to provide affordable fuel economy improvement, and will be utilized on more Ford vehicles, beginning in 2018. The total potential environmental impact of translations across vehicle programs at Ford, may be multiple times the values noted for the Mustang and F-150.
 
CATEGORY:    Powertrain
TURBO CHARGER OUTLET T-JOINT
OEM Make & Model:  2018 Hyundai Motor Co.  Genesis G80 & Kia Stinger sedans 
Tier Supplier / Processor:  Hwaseung R&A Co., Ltd./ Songwoo Industrial & Seji Solotech, Inc.
Material Supplier / Toolmaker: DuPont Korea Inc./ not stated
Material / Process: PA66 / injection molding
 
Description: A 42% weight and 35% cost reduction, and improved airflow reducing the pressure drop (-8kPa) to increase fuel economy and improve NVH performance was achieved by designing and molding this part with plastic compared to the previous aluminum die cast part.   Air flow noise was also reduced and long term durability increased via the rib pattern design. Special 3-gate positioning tooling was designed to minimize stress in weld-line area for strength and durability and for processing optimization.  A new 35% glass fiber reinforced, heat stabilized polyamide 66 resin was developed for good retention of properties over time at temperatures up to 220 degrees C.
 
CATEGORY:    Process/Assembly/Enabling Technologies
TWO SHOT INTERIOR DECORATION BEZEL
OEM Make & Model:  2018 Ford Motor Co.  Ford Fiesta subcompact
Tier Supplier / Processor:  Faurecia Interior Systems 
Material Supplier / Toolmaker: Lotte Advanced Materials / JP Grosfilley SAS
Material / Process: INFINO LT1220 PC & Starex LX0760 ABS / 2-shot injection molding
 
Description: This unique 3-D decorative effect was achieved with 2K 'reverse' injection molding (1st shot tinted PC) with overmolding of grained surface with 2nd shot (self colored pigmented ABS). This is the first time this process was used to achieve the 3-D visual effect (color and texture) for a part of this size and geometry. A 30% cost save was achieved vs IMD/IML/high gloss painting and there was a 20% scrap reduction vs conventional 2-layer high gloss piano black appearance.
 
CATEGORY:    Safety
GEN-3 4-WAY HEAD RESTRAINT
OEM Make & Model:  2018 Ford Motor Co. Ford F-150 pickup
Tier Supplier / Processor:  Windsor Machine and Stamping 
Material Supplier / Toolmaker: Ravago / Integrity Tool & Mold
Material / Process: Hylon N1000STHL PA / injection molding
 
Description: This low cost, low mass, head restraint provides exceptional rigidity for whiplash protection.  Its flexible design allows the front surface of the head restraint to be translated closer to or further from the occupant by 60 mm without incurred costs (allowing for the precise balancing of comfort and safety). Using plastic, in place of steel, as the primary load bearing component is new to front row head restraints.   The part design eliminates manufacturing complexity making use of intelligent geometries so that readily available materials could be used.  A $10.73 Million savings ($2.80/vehicle) is projected by the end of MY2020 as this technology is extended to new vehicle programs.
 
CATEGORY:    HALL OF FAME
THERMOPLASTIC POLYOLEFIN SKIN INSTRUMENT PANEL
OEM Make & Model:  2000 General Motors Co. Pontiac Bonneville
Tier Supplier / Processor:  Inteva Products LLC (Delphi Interior Systems)  
Material Supplier / Toolmaker: Mytex Polymers (formerly Exxon Mobil Chem. & Mitsubishi Chem. Corp. joint venture).
Material / Process: TPO / injection molding
 
Description: The use of TPO skin on IPs was recognized in the industry in 1999, when GM won the SPE® Most Innovative Use of Plastics Award in the Body Interior category. It improved safety by enabling air bag deployments, and reduced windshield fogging with the reduction of VOCs and odors without plasticizers and toxic stabilizers. The environmentally friendly all polyolefin system also enabled closed loop recycling and the replacement of PVC while reducing mass 10%.  The TPO skin also improved interior quality by preventing brittle cracking, color fading (UV protection is improved by 4 times) and warping.  Overall esthetics were improved by the dry haptic leather-like feel inherent in TPO skin. 
 
CATEGORY:    VEHICLE ENGINEERING TEAM AWARD (VETA)
GENERAL MOTORS CO. FOR SIGNIFICANT USE OF INNOVATIVE PLASTIC CONTENT 
ON THE 2018 MY CHEVROLET TRAVERSE
 
The team:
Introduced a first surface appearance, thin wall, structural, long glass fiber polypropylene on the floor console carrier saving the program 30% mass or 2.2 lbs.  This eliminated the need for metal reinforcements to take $1.50/assembly out of the part as well.
Launched the first serial production polyamide clevis bracket reducing the part weight by 45% relative to the previous aluminum design while increasing damping by a factor of 10.
Developed a new LED headlamp system that includes nine tailored elements – nine individual lenses on top of nine 1x1 LEDs producing approximately 720 lumens.  These lenses include three large lenses (2 low beam / 1 high beam) coupled with six smaller ones (4 low / 2 high beam) and enabled lamp performance that is balanced with the customer requirements.  
And extended the use of low density (0.96 g/cc) TPO on the front and rear fascias, wheel opening moldings, claddings and rocker moldings. 
The use of plastics and composites contributed to enhanced performance (8% power gain with the 3.6L V6), weight savings (7% lower than the previous program), improved fuel economy (17% increase) with best in class cargo space and up to 14 available advanced safety features. 
 
SPE Automotive

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