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GM crossovers win big at SPE auto innovation awards; Canadian shops front and centre

Crossover cars from General Motors were the big winners at the 2012 Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Innovation Awards held on November 7 in Detroit, and a variety of Canadian shops played leading roles in other winning...



Crossover cars from General Motors were the big winners at the 2012 Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Innovation Awards held on November 7 in Detroit, and a variety of Canadian shops played leading roles in other winning applications.

The SPE awarded GM’s crossover vehicles Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Denali all-polyolefin instrument panels both the Body Interior award and the Grand Award. The instrument panels use materials from Adell Plastics Inc. of Baltimore and Ticona Engineering Polymers of Florence, Ky. KTX Co. Ltd. of Konan, Japan, was the toolmaker. “These midsize crossover vehicles demonstrate the use of contour stitching on an all-olefin, multi-grained full instrument panel (IP) surface with complex geometry,” SPE said. “Advanced robotic sewing technology provides an “up-level” appearance while saving 15-25% costs vs. non-cut/sew applications and up to 50% vs. cut/sew leather plus 15% weight.”

Other winners, Canadian companies among them, include:

The Body Exterior award went to Chrysler Group LLC of Auburn Hills, Mich., for the carbon fiber composite hood on the 2013 SRT Viper sports car. The hood is molded by Plasan Carbon Composites of Bennington, Vt., with materials from Toray Carbon Fibers Inc., of Decatur, Ala., and Umeco plc/Cytec Industries Inc. of Woodland Park, N.J. A Canadian company – Weber Manufacturing Technologies Inc. of Midland, Ont. – is the mold maker.

Ford Motor Co. of Dearborn, Mich., won the Chassis/Hardware award for the dual-rate air extractor on the Escape and Edge SUVs. Whitby, Ont.’s Wegu Manufacturing Inc. of Whitby, Ont., uses two-shot molding of polypropylene and thermoplastic elastomer to produce the extractor. The resin is supplied by RheTech Inc. of Whitmore Lake, Mich. The mold maker is Anfe-Moulds Inc. of Brampton, Ont.

The Materials award was claimed by Ford for the air vents in the Escape, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles, which incorporate a controlled crystallization polyamide to eliminate the need for paint and improves the appearance by providing a smoother surface for the glass-filled nylon. TRW Automotive Inc. of Livonia, Mich., and Key Plastics LLC of Northville, Mich., are system suppliers for the project. The material, a Leona PA 6/6, was supplied by Asahi Kasei Plastics North America of Fowlerville, Mich. The molds were supplied by Liberty Molds Inc. of Portage, Mich., and J&J Tool & Mold Ltd. of Oldcastle, Ont.

The Performance/Customization award went to a single piece carbon fiber composite air extractor for the 2012 GM Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The system supplier for the application is TransGlobal LLC of Auburn Hills, Mich., and deBotech Inc. of Mooresville, N.C., is the processor and toolmaker. The part uses materials from Umeco, BASF Corp. of Florham Park, N.J., and Sabic Innovative Plastics of Pittsfield, Mass.

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. of Tokyo won the Powertrain award for the water outlet assembly on its 2012 Altima sedan. MPC Inc. of Walworth, Wis., is the system supplier and processor, using materials supplied by Solvay Advanced Polymers of Brussels. The mold is made by Industrial Molds Group of Rockford, Ill.

Ford won the Processing/Assembly/Enabling Technologies award for the direct extrusion of a bulb seal on the cowl of the 2013 C-Max. Windsor Mold Group of Windsor, Ont., is the system supplier and processor for the part. The material is a Santoprene thermoplastic vulcanite from Houston-based ExxonMobil Chemical. Reis Extrusion GmbH of Merzenich, Germany, is the toolmaker.

Ford also won the Safety award for the integrated headlamp and hood stop bump bracket on the 2013 Fusion sedan, designed to improve pedestrian safety. The Exterior & Interior division of Magna International Inc. of Aurora, Ont., is the system supplier and processor, using a PP supplied by Styron LLC of Berwyn, Pa. The toolmaker is Advantage Mold Inc. of Londonderry, N.H.


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