42nd Automotive Innovation Awards: Part2

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The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) announced the winners and finalists for its 42nd Automotive Innovation Awards Competition on November 7, 2012 during a Gala at Burton Manor in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, USA. Winners and finalists of the category Body Exterior were as follows. More details relating to other categories can be found in former and subsequent issues of Plastics.

Winner of the category Body Exterior

Carbon composite hood assembly

Carbon composite hood assembly

Carbon composite hood assembly (photos: SPE)

OEM/vehicle: Chrysler/2013 SRT Viper GTS

System supplier: Plasan Carbon Composites

Material processor: Plasan Carbon Composites

Material suppliers: Umeco/Cytec, Toray Carbon Fibers Americas, Ashland

Resin: G83C T700S-24K carbon fibre

Tooling/equipment supplier: Weber Manufacturing Technologies

This hood assembly is a Class A CFRP part with a very large complex clamshell geometry. The painted Class A outer panel is complemented by an exposed weave inner panel. The part represents the largest Class A carbon fibre composite part provided to a mainstream OEM at volumes up to 3,000 vehicle sets/year. Design, tooling and fabrication technologies from both marine and aerospace were employed for the first time in automotive to facilitate layup of the complex geometry with severe undercuts. Integrated mounting points using riv-nuts and studs are moulded into the inner hood panel. Local section thickness was varied to meet structural requirements. The final part, incorporating fenders as well as hood, is 44% lighter than the previous hood-only assembly in SMC, helping improve weight distribution and lower the vehicle’s center of gravity for better vehicle dynamics and power-to-weight ratio.

Finalist of the category Body Exterior

Bi LED achromatic plastic lens
Bi LED achromatic plastic lens

Bi LED achromatic plastic lens

OEM/vehicle: Ford Motor/2013 Lincoln MKZ

System supplier: Valeo Sylvania

Material processor: Eschenbach Optik

Material supplier: Bayer MaterialScience

Resin:Makrolon LED2245 PC

Tooling/equipment supplier: Eschenbach Optik

This is the first time a plastic lens has been used as a headlamp projector. The achromatic plastic lens with microstructure features allows two different beam patterns (high- and low-beam) to be created with a single-piece PC lens produced in a single moulding operation. The lens is laser welded to the lens bracket for precision location. Versus glass, the plastic lens can be lit with an LED instead of halogen lamp (saving energy), provides a 45% weight reduction and a cost save of €10.90/vehicle(US $14.30), and offers greater styling versatility.

Finalist of the category Body Exterior

Structural rocker moulding

Structural rocker moulding

Structural rocker moulding

OEM/vehicle: Ford Motor/2013 Ford Edge Sport

System supplier: ABC Group

Material processor: ABC Group

Material supplier: LyondellBasell Industries

Resin: Sequel TYC 852X TPO

Tooling/equipment supplier: Delta Tool

This is the first structural-foam moulded, painted TPO rocker moulding, which uses a unique endothermic foaming agent, counterpressure and a proprietary primer to facilitate foam dispersion. The combination was selected to be compatible with Ford’s paint systems, ensure good paint adhesion, and the foaming agent is tuned not to release even under high moulding pressures until the tool is completely filled. The resulting 1-piece, Class A part uses less material, reduced part count by two pieces, is now 100% recyclable, and meets step-load requirements without additional metal reinforcements while yielding a 2.3kg/vehicle (5lb) weight and 65% direct-cost savings versus previous technology.

Finalist of the category Body Exterior

Rear quarter windows

Rear quarter window

Rear quarter window

OEM/vehicle: PSA Peugeot/2011 Citroën DS5

System supplier: Freeglass

Material processor: Freeglass

Material supplier: Sabic

Resin: Lexan GLX 143 PC

This PC rear quarter window with 3D styling is integrated into the vehicle’s aerodynamic spoiler (to facilitate vehicle stability and improve fuel economy) and D- and roof pillars (without need for styling gaps). It is the largest rear quarter window in plastic glazing to date and its unique contours would have been unfeasible in glass, although it is also 20% lighter than glass. In addition, the two-shot injection/compression part has low residual stresses, was double-baked with a silicone hard coat for durability and weathering performance, and features an integral moulded-in-colour PC/ABS surround.

Finalist of the category Body Exterior

Uniform lighting lens

Uniform lighting lens

OEM/vehicle: General Motors/2013 Buick Enclave

System supplier: Magna International

Material processor: Display Pack

Material supplier: Bayer MaterialScience

Resin: Makrolon AL2447 PC

Tooling/equipment supplier: 3M

The uniform lighting lens (ULL) is a patented thermoformed PC film used for an inner lamp lens and containing two different microstructure patterns produced via micro-replication. The system is designed to balance optical properties for uniformity and luminous intensity while reducing the number of LEDs needed. Using this technology led to weight and cost reductions as well as lower lead times on lens tooling and greater design freedom.

See also this article.



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