42nd Automotive Innovation Awards: Part5


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. Winner and finalists of the category Powertrain were as follows. More details relating to other categories can be found in former and subsequent issues of Plastics.

Winner of the category Powertrain

Water outlet assembly

OEM/vehicle: Nissan/2012 Nissan Altima

System supplier: MPC

Material processor: MPC

Material supplier: Solvay Specialty Polymers

Resin: Amodel AS-1933HS PPA-GF33

Tooling/equipment supplier: Industrial Molds Group

ten male ports if the water-outlet assembly

The ten male ports if the water-outlet assembly are created without a parting line (photos: SPE)

The combination of sequencing, precision timing, multi-slide actions, scientific moulding and robotics resulted in a world-class water-outlet assembly injection moulded in glass reinforced PPA. This metal-to-plastic conversion, whose main function is to act as a manifold for the cooling system, integrated two components into one assembly, which features ten seamless barb ports that feed coolant to and from the transmission cooler, throttle cooler, heater core, oil cooler, and provides coolant to the radiator. The outlet also includes a press-in-place seal, sealed threaded insert, a wire harness bracket, an oil drip rail, plus it houses the thermostat. The ten male ports are created without a parting line, which is usually required with conventional injection moulding, and are made possible through precision timing of multiple valve gates and multiple slide actions to properly form this complex product.

Finalist of the category Powertrain

Plastic turbo resonator

OEM/vehicles: Ford/2012 2.0-L Ecoboost equipped Ford Fusion & Escape

System supplier: Contitech MGW

Material processor: Polymer Products

Material supplier: DuPont Performance Polymers

Resins: Zytel 70G20HSLX & 70G35HSLX PA 66

part with PA 6/6 insert

The PA 6/6 insert increases structural stability, eliminates a metal ring, and controls the most NVH-sensitive element

The goals for this programme were to reduce weight, optimise package flexibility, integrate parts, reduce cost, create best-in-class quality, and produce a part with repeatable dimensions and tuning. Benchmarking showed that no one had fully accomplished all these objectives. Through a team effort, an innovative manufacturing process was developed. Injection moulding is used to form the PA6/6 insert, which increases structural stability, eliminates a metal ring, and precisely controls the most NVH-sensitive element. Windows on the insert can be modified to tailor it to specific vehicle requirements. It is, in turn, insert moulded in the 2D blow-moulding process to form the outer resonator, whose shape flexibility contributes to the packaging requirement.

Finalist of the category Powertrain

Electric vehicle battery pack

OEM/Vehicle: Ford/2012 Ford Focus-Electric

System supplier: Ford

Material processor: Toledo Molding & Die

Material supplier: Sabic

Resin: Noryl GFN1 PPE

Li-ion cell packaging with precise snap-fit design

Li-ion cell packaging with precise snap-fit design

A dimensionally precise snap-fit design allowed for the development of a unique, simplified, lightweight cost-effective Li-ion cell packaging that supports automated assembly and contains no fasteners. This led to improved battery module package density enabled via MPPE’s low warpage, hydrolytic stability even in humid environments, and ability to be moulded in thinner walls. The material also supports ultrasonic welding of the bus-bar face plate to the battery module.

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