A thermoplastic liftgate takes top spot in the body exteriors category, a carbon fibre subframe wins first place in the chassis category, and a thin-wall torsional welding process wins the enabling technology category.
July 17, 2018 by Canadian Plastics
Automotive parts supplier Magna International Inc. has collected three first-place awards at the 2018 Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Awards gala held on July 6 in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Aurora, Ont.-based Magna took the top spot in the body exteriors category for its thermoplastic liftgate for the 2019 Jeep Cherokee. “These liftgate modules achieve up to 25 per cent mass savings over steel versions and are delivered as complete assemblies to the customer,” Magna said in a statement. “Composite materials allow for greater design flexibility with deeper draws and tighter radii.” Additional benefits of its full-system assembly and delivery approach include reduced complexity of the total liftgate module, lower tooling investment, and increased throughput at the assembly plant, Magna said.
Magna also won first place in the chassis category for its carbon fibre subframe. The result of an ongoing joint R&D project with Ford Motor Co., the prototype subframe achieves an 82 per cent part reduction by replacing 45 steel parts with two molded parts and six steel parts, Magna said, as well as a 34 per cent mass savings compared to a subframe made of stamped steel. Vehicle-level testing is currently underway.
Finally, Magna’s thin-wall torsional welding process won the enabling technology category. “Torsional welding joins plastic brackets to thermoplastic fascia with a high-speed twisting motion that creates enough friction-based heat to meld them together,” Magna said. “Working with a technology partner, [we] became the first to use torsional welding for automotive fascia. The process is currently used for the front fascia of the 2017 Skoda Octavia in Europe, and there are plans to use it soon in the North American market.”