Automotive Innovation Awards: Body Exterior

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The Body Exterior category winner was also the Grand Award winner of the 43rd annual SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition. The nomination judged to be the 2013th most innovative use of plastics on a ground-transportation vehicle was the all olefinic liftgate on the 2014 model year Nissan Rogue cross-over utility vehicle (CUV) by Nissan Motor. Tier supplier is Hitachi Chemical, the processor Magna-Decostar; materials were supplied by LyondellBasell and Advanced Composites; and toolmaker, Kyowa Industrial also were named on the award.

Winner of the category Body Exterior & Grand Award winner

All olefinic liftgate

OEM/vehicle: Nissan Motor/2014 Nissan Rogue CUV

Tier supplier/processor: Hitachi Automotive Systems/Magna-Decostar

Material supplier: LyondellBasell & Advanced Composites

Tooling supplier: Kyowa Industrial

Material/process: Hifax TYC 1175P TPO (outer panel) & Mostran L5091-P LFT-PP (inner panel)/injection moulding

All olefinic liftgate (photos: SPE)

This liftgate is unique as all materials are olefinic (hence, fully recycleable) and it uses North America’s first TPO outer panel. The full assembly has innovative styling and is 30% lighter than comparable steel systems, improving fuel efficiency, emissions, and customer usage, reducing effort to open/close the liftgate. Thanks to parts integration, low scrap, and reuse of offal, raw-material costs on the outer panel were reduced 35% and moulding cycles were shorter versus SMC and traditional TPO. The MIC LGF-PP met mechanical requirements and eliminated paint on the Class A inner panel. Panels are adhesively bonded.

Finalist of the category Body Exterior

Integrated semi-convertible sunroof system
OEM/vehicle: PSA Citroën/2013 DS 3 Cabrio supermini

System supplier: Webasto Group

Material processor: Shapers ARRK

Material supplier: Polyscope Polymers

Resin: Xiran SG230EB SMA & ABS

Tooling/equipment supplier: Shapers Arrk

1-piece sunroof frame

This is the first all-thermoplastic, 1-piece GR SMA/ABS composite sunroof frame that is 2x 1m in size. Large sunroof frames such as this are typically formed from aluminium extrusions or steel stampings, while smaller frames have been produced in SMC or hybrid PBT/ASA and metal. The integrated system combines seven parts into one while incorporating both structural and customer-visible surfaces with an integrated textile canopy plus kinematics. The injection-moulded frame is mounted to the upper-body structure and combines operating functionality for a sliding sunroof. Tooling was designed to simultaneously mould both sunroof frame plus rear-window frame via a sophisticated runner and hot-drop system that minimised part stresses, and eliminates cooling fixtures, a second tool, and a second press, and provided repeatable manufacturing. The result is a durable system that is 100% recyclable, eliminates paint (lowering VOC emissions), offers 40% lower weight than previous systems, and contributed 25% tooling savings.

Window glazing system

OEM/vehicle: Volkswagen/2013 XL1 PHEV

Tier supplier/processor: Exatec LLC/Sabic

Material supplier: Sabic

Tooling supplier: Summerer Technologies

Material/process: Lexan GLX143 PC/injection/compression moulding

PC window glazing

This is the first fully homologated PC glazing for series production, the first two-component injection-moulded PC glazing for roll-down and fixed windows with rail integration, and the largest two-component injection/compression-moulded PC glazing for side windows. The long filling cycle of two-component injection/compression moulding reduces moulded-in-stresses for superior optics while allowing both transparent and overmoulded blackout function integration. Plasma coating improves abrasion resistance required for a moving side window and fulfils homologation requirements. Weight is reduced 33% versus 3.2mm glass and aerodynamic features improve fuel economy. It also provides thermal insulation, less fogging and high-quality optics.

Fully retractable panoramic roof system

OEM/vehicle: Ford Motor/2014 Lincoln MKZ luxury sedan

Tier supplier/processor: Webasto/Cooper-Standard Automotive & A. Raymond

Material supplier: Sabic & Celanese

Tooling supplier: Delta Tooling & Elite Plastic Products

Material/process: Lexan 143 PC & Hostaform S9363 POM/extrusion & lamination

Retractable roof system

A stong, tear-resistant PET film was developed to enable this retractable glass roof to meet all strength, NVH, and performance requirement with thinner, lighter, high-strength fully tempered glass. Unique plastic fasteners and retainers replace steel clips for further cost and weight reduction. Hard-coated polycarbonate (PC) trim panels substitute for acrylic, improving scratch/mar performance and dimensional stability.  Proprietary extrusion and unique 3D laminating processes were developed to produce this assembly without air bubbles. A composite outer panel offers improved strength and NVH performance at comparable costs but 20% lower weight and a hardware savings of €0.72 (US $1)/vehicle.

 

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