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SPE Automotive names winners for auto innovation awards

Source:SPE Automotive     Date:2021-11-19
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The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE®) announced the winners for its 50th annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, the oldest and largest recognition event (established in 1970) in the automotive and plastics industries.  The announcement was made November 10, 2021 during the 50th SPE Automotive innovation Awards Gala held at the Burton Manor in Livonia, Mich., USA. The Chassis/Hardware category winner was also this year’s Grand Award winner.  The Grand Award winner is selected from the winners of each of 7 categories by a panel of Blue Ribbon Judges who are industry experts.  A Vehicle Engineering Team Award (VETA) was also announced.  The VETA honours work in research, design, engineering, and/or manufacturing that has led to the significant ingtegration of polymeric materials on a notable vehicle.

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To commemorate “50 Years of Plastics Innovation,” instead of picking a single Hall of Fame (HOF) Winner for 2021, the HOF committee selected the top 5 leading innovations from the previous 37 winners – from 1983 to 2019.  The criteria for a HOF award is that the nomination be in use for at least 15 years and be: game changing; very successful worldwide; innovative in materials, process and application; and still being used. A Lifetime Achievement award was also presented. 


This year, a special category was added to recognise INNOVATIVE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY PLASTIC SOLUTIONS FOR COVID-19 PROTECTION.  This honours the outstanding effort of the automotive industry to provide much needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the early days of COVID-19, bringing capacity to the market with automotive design and production strength at the same time most companies were dealing with COVID-19 shutdowns.  The effort provided much needed protection to frontline medical workers at a time when the health challenge was at its peak and supply chains for PPE were unable to meet the urgent demand.  Only the collaboration and commitment from the automotive manufacturers and supply base made that achievement possible.    



Winners for the category Plastic Solutions for Covid-19 Protection include: the Powered Air Purifying Respirator (OEM Make & Model:  2020 Ford Motor Co. ); Ventilator Main Chassis Production (OEM Make & Model:  2020 General Motors Co. / Ventec Life Systems V+Pro Emergency Ventilator with material Lexan 500R 10% GF PC from SABIC);  Emergency Ventilator (OEM Make & Model:  2020 General Motors Co. / Ventec Life Systems V+Pro Emergency Ventilator with Versollan OM1262NX-1 TPE from Avient Corp.); Warpage Correction in Ventilator O2 Bracket (OEM Make & Model:  2020 General Motors Co. / Ventec Life Systems V+Pro Emergency Ventilator with Vitrex 450FC30 PEEK from Vitrex Plc); Ventilator Diaphragm (OEM Make & Model:  2020 Ventec Life Systems V+Pro Emergency Ventilator with Elastosil LR 30003/50 Silicone Rubber from WACKER); Flexible Air Breathing Tube for Powered Air Purifying Respirator (OEM Make & Model:  2021 Ford Motor Co. Powered Air Purifying Respirator with materials from Celanese and AT Polymers;  PPE Production Through #TyvekTogether and Project Airbridge with Tyvek from DuPont; Multi-Use Isolation Gown (OEM Make & Model:  2020 Ford Motor Co. Isolation Gown;  Apollo PPE Face Shield; and Acteev Technology.



Winners from this year’s competition are listed below in category and submission order:


CATEGORY WINNERS – Top 5 Hall of Fame Awards from 1983 – 2019 :

             HDPE (High-Density Polyethelene) Fuel Tank awarded to Volkswagon AG in 2000

             Front & Rear TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) Bumper Fascias awarded to General Motors Co. in 2010

             PVB (Polyvinyl Butyral) Windshield Interlayer awarded to Ford Motor Co. in 1988

             PA (Nylon) Thermoplastic Intake Manifold awarded to Porsche AG in 2005

             PC (Polycarbonate) Headlamp Assembly awarded to Ford Motor Co. in 2007


CATEGORY WINNER: Additive Manufacturing

Integrated Tether System - OEM Make & Model:  2021 Ford Motor Co. Ford Maverick

An industry’s first,  customers can select, download NFTL files, and 3D print their own swappable accessories (e.g. cupholders, trash bins, etc.) that fit in storage slots of their vehicle across the entire Maverick series. Initial designs were developed by Ford and its supply teams, but future ones could be suggested by customers.  



Grille with Integrated Lit Emblem - OEM Make & Model:  2021 Ford Motor Co. Ford Mustang Mach E GT with material supplier Covestro

This hardcoated and painted front grille with lit emblem provides a 3D, futuristic effect in a single part. Injection/compression moulding forms the large-format clear PC grille with variable wall thicknesses (ranging from 3-5 mm) in a lower-tonnage press that helped minimise or eliminate flow lines and stress marks. After moulding, the optical-quality part is undergoes hardcoat silicone dip to provide excellent weathering and abrasion resistance, the pony emblem is milled out, and primer and paint are selectively applied to the B side of the part—the first use of paint-over-hardcoat for an auto exterior trim application.



3rd Row Seatback - OEM Make & Model:  2021 Toyota Motor Corp. Toyota Sienna with material Ultramid B3ZG7 CR PA 6 from BASF  

A 16-piece steel assembly was replaced with a single, shoot & ship plastic assembly for this 3rd-row seatback that reduced mass 30%, cost 15%, represented a 2x improvement in crash performance, and takes 63% less effort for occupants to raise the seat to its upright position, eliminating the need for a seat motor. This is industry’s first fully-plastic freestanding seatback offering excellent energy absorption without need for metal support brackets. A new 35% short-glass, impact-modified PA6 resin was developed for this sequentially injected application.



Multi-Material Rear Leaf Spring - OEM Make & Model:  2021 Ford Motor Co. Ford F150 with EPIKOTE Resin TRAC 06150, EPIKURE Curing Agent TRAC 06150, HELOXY Additive TRAC 06805 from Hexion Inc., SGL Carbon  

This new hybrid rear leaf spring combines a high-strength steel main pack plus an HP-RTM fibreglass-reinforced epoxy composite helper that reduces mass 30% while providing the same stiffness and durability as a conventional steel leaf spring system. Additional benefits include increased payload capability, lower part count, decreased interleaf friction, smoother engagement, lower noise, and lower carbon footprint.


CATEGORY WINNER: Environmental

Wiring Harness Clip - OEM Make & Model:  2021 Ford Motor Co. Ford Bronco Sport with Akulon RePurposed PA6 PA6 from DSM  

These rPA6 wire-harness clips are injection moulded from 100% PCR ocean plastics. Ghost gear (fishing nets) are collected by fishermen in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, providing jobs, more sustainable livelihoods, and healthier marine life. The material provides comparable performance to petroleum-based prime resin at 10% cost savings, lower energy, improved supply-chain stability, and LCA benefits. No tooling changes and minimal process changes were needed for this drop-in change.



Composite Roof Receivers - OEM Make & Model:  2021 Stellantis Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Gladiator with material KyronMAX S-4330 PPA from Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced

Six brackets for removeable hardtop and soft top roofs were converted from investment cast steel to 30% ultrashort carbon fibre (USCF)-reinforced PPA, providing comparable part strength while reducing costs 38% and mass 79%. Powder coating was eliminated and scratch & mar improved while providing a weatherable, MIC, Class A finish that allowed for mid-program replacement and backwards service compatibility.   


For a complete list of winners, visit: https://speautomotive.com/





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