42nd Automotive Innovation Awards: Part1


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 Interior were as follows. The category winner was also the winner of the SPE Grand Award. More details relating to other categories can be found in former and subsequent issues of Plastics.

Winner of the category Body Interior & Grand Award Winner

All-olefin, soft skin, stitched full IP system

The instrument panel with faux seam and contour stitching was the category winner as well as the Grand Award winner  (photos: SPE)

OEM/vehicle: General Motors/2013 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia

System supplier: Inteva Products

Material processor: Inteva Products

Material suppliers: Adell Plastics, Stahl, Ticona Engineering Polymers

Resin: TPO-631 SSXT Soft TPO

Tooling/equipment supplier: KTX

These midsize crossover vehicles demonstrate the use of contour stitching on an all-olefin, multi-grained full instrument panel (IP) surface with complex geometry. Advanced robotic sewing technology provides an “uplevel” appearance while saving 15-25% costs vs. non-cut / sew applications and up to 50% vs. cut / sew leather plus 15% weight.


Finalist of the category Body Interior

Composite rear seat cushion frame

Rear seat cushion frame made of composite

OEM/vehicle: Hyundai Kia Automotive Group/2012 Kia K9

System supplier: Dymos

Material supplier: Honam Petrochemical

Resin: PP

Replacing a spot-welded steel structure with a one-shot, injection-moulded high-strength (long-glass/highcrystalline) PP composite allowed for development of a lightweight, low-cost rear seat cushion frame for a rearwheel-drive sedan. The application reduced weight 25% and costs 10% while improving the manufacturing process and has generated one Korean patent and two additional patents overseas.


Finalist of the category Body Interior

Dual purpose cargo management system lid

Cargo management system for a BEV

OEM/vehicle: Ford Motor/2012 Focus BEV

System supplier: The Woodbridge Group

Material processor: The Woodbridge Group

Material suppliers: JSP, BASF

Resins: EPP / PP

This patent-pending, dual-purpose, combination cargo management system / load floor for a BEV helps organise / store occupant goods while providing an adjustable load floor (with single-hand operation) and access to the battery charge door underneath without having to remove the unit from the vehicle.


Finalists of the category Body Interior

Inertial latch for console

Patented console-bin latching system

OEM/vehicle: Ford Motor/2013 Lincoln MKZ

System supplier: TRW Automotive

Material processor: TRW Automotive

Material suppliers: Ticona Engineering Polymers, DuPont Performance Polymers, Solvay Specialty Polymers

Resins: Celcon M90 POM, PA

Tooling/equipment supplier: TRW Automotive

A patented console-bin latching system that does not require a conventional paddle & hook feature was designed to offer better fit & finish, a flush appearance, and no ergonomic compromise, while still meeting FMVSS 201 requirements that the bin stay latched in a crash. This affords unique styling opportunities and the customer ability to simply lift open the console lid without the need to operate a latch. An inertial mechanism was combined with seatbelt retractor technology to lock the console when subjected to load. The latch is fully compliant with quality and safety requirements, yet there is no unsightly latch feature visible when the armrest is open. It is cost neutral and eliminates paint and chrome necessary for traditional latch decoration.


Finalist of the category Body Interior

Dolphin interior trim components

Instrument panel part

OEM/vehicle: Daimler/2011 Mercedez-Benz Actros

System supplier: Sole

Material processors: Trexel, Engel Austria

Material supplier: SO.F.TER

Resin: Pibiflex polyester based TPE

Tooling/equipment supplier: Georg Kaufmann

The new multi-phase Dolphin process allows a rigid substrate with integral foam core and MIC grained skin to be produced in one step on one machine. Equipped with an opposing, 2-barrel rotary platen with expansion / decompression option and utilizing the microcellular foam moulding process, the system moulds a rigid PC/ABS carrier, then forms a solid, MIC grained Class A outer skin (thickness adjustable by manipulating mould cooling time) as well as a low-density foam core layer (thickness / density are adjustable by altering the mould opening stops) from the same shot of TPE. The three layers maintain a strong bond without need for corona treatment. The parts reduced cost 25% vs. the previous PVC slush-moulded option, reduced process steps from eight to two, eliminated waste (since scrap from the all-thermoplastic system is fully recyclable and can be ground and reused).

Related Articles & Comments

Comments are closed.