| 1:46 PM EST

All-Plastic Tailgate Reduces Mass 30%

An all-plastic tailgate designed and fabricated by Sabic Innovative Plastics (sabic-ip.com) weighs nearly 28 lb. (12.5 kg) less than a similarly sized tailgate made from metal.
#Nissan #Volkswagen

Share

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

An all-plastic tailgate designed and fabricated by Sabic Innovative Plastics (sabic-ip.com) weighs nearly 28 lb. (12.5 kg) less than a similarly sized tailgate made from metal. This, according to Scott Fallon, general manager for automotive plastics at SABIC, represents a 30% weight save. He acknowledges, however, “The all-plastic tailgate is a unique design because a lot of other designs have been retrofitted from metal to plastic, and we designed in plastics from the beginning.” Fallon claims that this is the first tailgate that is completely plastic. He cites, for example, the plastic tailgate on the Nissan Rogue, but points out, “It doesn’t have a back light that is also plastic. From the glazing down, our tailgate is completely done in plastic,” Fallon says. This all-plastic solution not only provides double-digit weight savings, but also saves assembly time and potentially cost through part consolidation, he adds. 

“We see a lot of opportunity to replace glass with poly-carbonate,” Fallon says. “We had to develop a proprietary technology to get the surface of polycarbonate to be as resistant to scratch and weather as glass.”

For the 2013 Volkswagen XL1 diesel plug-in hybrid, SABIC used a two-shot injection-molded solution with the company’s EXATEC plasma coating technology to make the side windows. This glazing provides a 33% weight save compared to conventional glass.

“We started replacing glass with glazing in roof applications and rear-quarter windows, and have been expanding from there,” Fallon says. Depending on the application, plastic provides weight savings between 30 and 50% compared to traditional glass, he says.—ZP

RELATED CONTENT

  • Weighing the Options for Automotive Lightweighting

    Designing lighter, stronger and more cost-effective automotive products provides a solid competitive edge to the companies that produce them. Here’s why some are switching their materials from steel to magnesium. (Sponsored Content)

  • Cylinder Coating for Improved Performance

    Generally, when OEMs produce aluminum engine blocks (aluminum rather than cast iron because cast iron weighs like cast iron), they insert sleeves into the piston bores—cast iron sleeves.

  • Introducing the Ford F-150: Aluminum but a Whole Lot More

    While Ford has reset the stakes in the light-duty pickup market with the aluminum-intensive F-150, that’s not the whole story of what they’ve done to this new generation of America’s best-selling vehicle.