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. 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
On Easter morning in Moab, Utah, when the population of that exceedingly-hard-to-get-to town in one of the most beautiful settings on Earth has more than doubled, some people won’t be hunting for Easter eggs, but will be trying to get a good look at one of the vehicles six that Jeep has prepared for real-life, fast-feedback from the assembled at the annual Easter Jeep Safari.
Conventional thinking would have it that the world’s most successful small car plant would be located either in Asia, Eastern Europe or South America. It’s not. Convention also would dictate that the most affordable small car on the market would not be made from plastic, but it is. Here’s how Little Tikes defies convention.
There is a lot of discussion about how 3D printing/rapid prototyping/additive manufacturing is revolutionizing manufacturing, including automotive manufacturing.