Issue: Nov 2013


Global composites technology leader earns award for vehicle lightweighting technology



Continental Structural Plastics Receives Innovations Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers

by James Hilton

Continental Structural Plastics (CSP), a global leader in light-weight composite solutions, announced today its receipt of the prestigious 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Innovation Award. The award is in the Electrical Systems category for CSP’s work on the General Motors 2014 Chevrolet Spark Battery Pack Enclosure, developed and manufactured at CSP’s facility in North Baltimore, Ohio.

The Spark Battery Pack enclosure, made with CSP’s tough, compression-molded composite, is an industry-first that reduces mass weight by 40 percent over traditional materials. This significant mass weight reduction is an asset to General Motors in its work to meet federal CAFE standards for emissions by helping improve driving range and battery performance.

To meet severe performance requirements, the complex-shaped battery enclosure had to pass rigorous testing, including a 30 degree off-set barrier crash test, side-impact and rear-barrier crash test; 50 G impulse mechanical shock test; a post-crash package integrity test that evaluates the condition of the battery pack; fire-resistance test; 3-meter drop test; 1-meter water-immersion test; and vibration/shock testing. To satisfy the criteria for these requirements, new non-destructive test methods were needed to evaluate new material, the production process and post-molded finishing. The results gave rise to another industry first for CSP – the first use of a VOC-free, thermostat vinyl ester, reinforced with coarse, basket-weave glass rove cloth, to form an enclosure that protects battery components in a catastrophic event. Additionally, because it is non-conductive, the battery enclosure protects occupants and first responders at the scene of an accident.

“It is an honor to receive this significant innovation award from SPE,” said Frank Macher, CEO and chairman, Continental Structural Plastics. “At CSP, we are committed to leading the way for vehicle lightweighting with innovations in composite formulations and component design that can be used for components and structures throughout the vehicle.”

CSP collaborated with General Motors, A123 Systems, and Cytec Industries to create the Chevrolet Spark Battery Enclosure.

About Continental Structural Plastics
For more than 40 years, Continental Structural Plastics (CSP) has provided leading-edge technologies in light-weight materials and composite solutions for the automotive, heavy truck, HVAC and construction industries. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, CSP holds more than 50 patents covering materials development and manufacturing processes in composite materials formulation, design and manufacturing technologies. For more information, visit www.cspplastics.com.

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