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SPE Auto Winners

The Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Division has handed out its Automotive Innovation Awards for the use of plastics materials in a variety of automotive applications, and clearly Ford has to be given credit for winning in a number of categories, including the “Grand Award.” Specifically: · The 2012 Ford Escape and Euro market Kuga use an instrument panel that is molded with the MuCell microcellular injection molding process.
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The Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Division has handed out its Automotive Innovation Awards for the use of plastics materials in a variety of automotive applications, and clearly Ford has to be given credit for winning in a number of categories, including the “Grand Award.”

Specifically:

· The 2012 Ford Escape and Euro market Kuga use an instrument panel that is molded with the MuCell microcellular injection molding process. This not only results in a weight reduction of approximately 1 lb., but cycle time is reduced by 15% and there is a cost save of approximately $3/vehicle compared with a solid injection molded part. This is the Grand Award winner.

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· The 2011 Ford Focus features a reinforced airbag lid in foam. This uses a reinforced structural 3D skeleton of PET and a polyurethane foam lid in replace of a metal or plastic airbag lid door. The weight save is described as “significant.” It was awarded in the Safety category.

· The 2012 Escape and Kuga also have an over molded polypropylene component for the seat that provides wire harness routing and retention, seat cushion and back-trim retention, and climate control system retention. There had been six parts. Now one. Interior awardee.

· The 2011 Focus models have an injection molded polyester power window output gear and shaft. A steel output pinion had been previously used. Winner in the chassis/hardware category.

But other OEMs and their suppliers were awarded, as well.

· Chrysler for the “Ram Box” assembly for its 2012 Ram pickup. The storage box is now made with a twin-sheet thermoforming process rather than blow molding. The part is now stronger and more accurately produced. Exterior awardee.

· Fiat for the renewably sourced polyamide used for diesel fuel lines in its 2011 diesel engines. The PA composition has a minimum of 60% bio content by weight.

· General Motors for the use of plastics in the battery pack for the 2011 Chevy Volt. Injection molded hydrolysis-resistant PA 6/6 is used for coolant channeling to and from the battery cells. Winner in the powertrain category.

· Hyundai-Kia in the materials category for the injection molded PP pillar trim used in the Pride and Optima Kias and Elantra Hyundai. It uses a filler consisting of volcanic rock, fiber pile, and glass spheres in place of a talc-filled PP and a fabric-wrapped PP. There are both a 10% weight and 50% direct cost save. In addition to which, other benefits are cited for using the volcanic mineral: “it emits negative ions (to reduce pollutants) and far-infrared energy.” Don’t ask.

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