Automotive applications molded from SABIC Innovative Plastics’ industry-leading materials received a total of eight honors as part of the 2009 Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Innovation Awards Program: four winners – including the coveted Hall of Fame Award – and four finalists. Ranging from body panels and pedestrian protection to lighting, interior trim and wiring, these winning applications showcase the exceptional scope and diversity of SABIC Innovative Plastics’ automotive thermoplastic portfolio. They also clearly demonstrate the numerous ways in which the company’s advanced materials solutions are driving greater automotive design freedom, higher performance and enhanced sustainability. The awards were presented on Nov. 12 at a ceremony in Livonia, Michigan.
“SABIC Innovative Plastics’ high-end materials continue to replace traditional products – such as glass, metal and thermosets – inside and outside of today’s cars enabling great style, performance and value,” said Gregory A. Adams, vice president, SABIC Innovative Plastics, Automotive. “We are honored to see our plastics playing a huge role in the future success of our automotive customers and the auto industry at large, specifically the environmentally responsible solutions that these products provide. Being honored by SPE further validates our position as an auto industry leader as we continue to develop better next-generation technologies that offer still greater application innovation and technological excellence.”
“As automotive manufacturers look for new ways to reduce environmental impact, SABIC Innovative Plastics materials provide targeted solutions – whether the challenge is weight reduction, recyclability, or avoidance of secondary operations or halogens,” said Venkatakrishnan Umamaheswaran (UV) director of Marketing, Engineering and Technology for SABIC Innovative Plastics, Automotive. “The future of automotive design will bring many new opportunities to utilize high-performance plastics in creative ways. Working with customers, we are preparing for these new applications by expanding our portfolio of eco-responsible materials.”
Winning Applications Showcase Versatility of SABIC Innovative Plastics’ Resins
The award winners and categories were: fenders molded from Noryl* GTX resin (Hall of Fame); Ford Kuga pedestrian-compliant fender molded from Noryl GTX resin (Safety); Ford Mustang LED sill light molded from Lexan* and Cycolac* resins (Performance/Customization); and Cadillac CTS integrated liftgate spoiler utilizing Cycoloy* HMD resin (Exteriors).
The four finalists and categories were: Ford Kuga energy absorber made with Xenoy* resin (Safety); Mustang interior trim featuring Geloy* resin with molded-in color (Materials); Ford Taurus headlamp bezel utilizing Lexan resin with molded-in color (Exteriors); and Flexible Noryl* resin for wire insulation in GM’s Yukon, Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade (Environmental).
Plastics have been used in automotive body panels for more than 20 years, and adoption of front fenders continues to expand. In recognition of this history of success, fenders molded from SABIC Innovative Plastics’ Noryl GTX resin were chosen for the SPE Hall of Fame Award. This material reduces weight for fuel savings and lower emissions, while enabling greater design freedom and part consolidation. Noryl GTX resin was also honored in the SPE Safety category for its use in the groundbreaking Ford Kuga SUV fender – the first pedestrian-compliant plastic fender. The Kuga’s fender along with the energy absorber (EA), a component made with Xenoy resin and mounted on the front bumper system, helps the Kuga to meet the European Enhanced Vehicle Safety Committee (EEVC) standard for pedestrian protection. SABIC Innovative Plastics’ global team collaborated with Ford on the design of the energy absorber.
The award-winning integrated liftgate spoiler of the Cadillac CTS wagon is another example of the advantages of plastics technology in automotive exteriors. SABIC Innovative Plastics’ Cycoloy HMD (high modulus ductile) resin allowed three components to be integrated into a single, sleek part with a Class-A surface. Cycoloy HMD technology reduces mass by up to 40 percent, and delivers high modulus and low coefficient of thermal expansion. The liftgate spoiler is the largest and most critical part to date using this new SABIC Innovative Plastics technology.
Interiors and Lighting
A unique lighting application in the 2010 Ford Mustang was another award-winning application utilizing SABIC Innovative Plastics materials. Lexan polycarbonate resin, with its high optical clarity and durability, and Cycolac ABS resin were used to create the industry’s first personalized, illuminated sill plates, which provide high-impact lighting using just one LED bulb instead of up to 30. Cycolac resin is used to mold the tub holding the LED insert, and Lexan resin is screen printed with a textured metallic finish and laser-etched graphics that optimize the LED light. This technology can also reduce costs by to 50 percent vs. standard designs.
Key components of the 2010 Mustang’s instrument panel interior trim earned finalist status in the Environmental category, thanks to the use of Geloy Visualfx* ASA resin with molded-in color to eliminate painting while delivering Class A aesthetics. Three trim parts – passenger-side air vent, center vent and IP gauges – are injection molded from Geloy resin incorporating a metallic effect. Molded-in color and effects avoids the environmental issues of painting, including energy expenditure and VOC emissions, while reducing costs.
Another paint avoidance application was the Ford Taurus headlamp bezel, an award finalist. This part uses Lexan Visualfx* resin with a metallic flake effect to achieve the desired aesthetics without costly secondary operations. The resin also offers retention of mechanical properties and long-term color stability at headlamp temperatures of up to ~130C.
Wire insulation made from halogen-free Flexible Noryl PPO resin used in the GM Yukon, Tahoe and Escalade was an award finalist in the Environmental category. In addition to avoiding the use of halogenated flame retardants, Flexible Noryl resin offers low specific gravity to reduce mass, and enables ultra-thin-wall design that frees up more space under the hood to accommodate more electrical/electronic content. This thinner insulation can reduce wire bundle diameter by up to 27 percent, and bundle area by up to 47 percent.