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SPE hands out annual Automotive Innovation Awards

The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) announced the winners - Canadian shops among them - of its 41st-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Competition, the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries.


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November 14, 2011 by Canadian Plastics

The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) announced the winners – Canadian shops among them – of its 41st-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Competition, the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries.

In the “Chassis/Hardware” category, a power-window regulator on Ford Motor Co.’s 2011 Focus was awarded. The power-window motor changed from a steel output pinion to a new injection molded Hytrel polyester one for a quieter and lighter motor that would still meet performance requirements. The part supplier was Germany’s Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH & Co. KG, the molder was Japan’s Mitsuba Corp., the Hytrel material supplier is Wilmington, Del.-base DuPont Co., and the toolmaker is Camoplast Inc. of Sherbrooke, Que.

In the “Body Exterior” category, Chrysler Group LLC was awarded for its Ram Box assembly and lid on its 2012 Dodge Ram pickup. Twin-sheet thermoforming replaces blow molding to create the structure and ribbing of this tough storage box with lid. “The result is a more uniform, more dimensionally accurate part whose length was increased from 5 ft 7 in. to 6 ft 4 in., requiring greater emphasis on the ‘heavy-duty’ nature of the structure’s design and materials of construction,” SPE said. The thermoformer is Penda Corp. of Portage, Wis.; Evco Plastics of DeForest, Wis., molds the bin and River Bend Industries LLC of Fort Smith, Ark., makes the end caps. The Thermylene polypropylene used in the box was provided by Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc. of Fowlerville, Mich., while the toolmaker for the injection molded parts was Cavalier Tool & Manufacturing Ltd. of Windsor, Ont.

In the “Body Interior” category, Ford Motor Co. was awarded for the overmold cushion suspension on its 2012 Escape sport utility vehicle and Ford Kuga vehicle. The injection molded polypropylene design reduces part count on the seat structure from five to one molded part, the SPE said, reducing the cost by almost US$0.60 per seat. The Flex-O-Laters Division of Leggett & Platt Inc. of Carthage, Mo., is the system supplier; Washington Penn Plastic Co. Inc. of Washington, Penn., supplied the resin; and Advanced Mold Engineering Inc. of Columbus, Ind., manufactured the tooling.

In the “Powertrain” category, General Motors won for a thermoplastic battery frames on its 2011 MY Chevrolet Volt extended-range EV. “The use of injection-molded hydrolysis-resistant PA 6/6 for thermal-cycling management is a lightweight enabling material for this design, which required exacting manufacturing consistency and high levels of repeatability and reproducibility,” SPE said. The packs are molded by Germany’s MANN+HUMMEL GmbH, the material supplier of the Ultramid PA used in the part is BASF Corp., and the toolmaker is Menomonee Fall, Wis.-based Omega Corp.

Other award winners included Italy-based Fiat Auto SpA in the “Environmental” category for its incorporation of DuPont’s new bio-based PA1010 polyamide in all Fiat diesel car fuel lines; South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. in the “Materials” category for a pillar trim that incorporates volcanic filler in a polypropylene injection molded part on the Kia Pride subcompact, Kia Optima mid-size sedan and Hyundai Elantra compact car; and Ford’s 2011 model year Focus in the “Safety” category for its use of an optimized instrument panel passenger airbag door system that uses a reinforced PET mesh textile and foam lid for the airbag door, instead of metal.