Holistic vehicle lightweighting is an important aspect of automotive engineers’ hunt for higher fuel efficiency without sacrificing vehicle performance.
“Integrating materials technology is a key attribute in helping traditional and non-traditional automakers develop lighter vehicles that meet consumers’ high expectations,” said Bruce Benda, vice president, Automotive Marketing, Bayer MaterialScience LLC. “We are keenly focused on providing automakers raw materials that meet market needs.”
Benda was part of a distinguished panel that shared insights on integrating lightweight materials into a vehicle’s exterior design during a recent Tech-Fast breakfast in Detroit.
The event, moderated by Jay Baron, president, Center for Automotive Research, was the second in a three-part series on “Considerations for Materials Integration in Vehicle Development” hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers Detroit Section, Society of Plastic Engineers Detroit and American Iron and Steel Institute. The events focus on interior, exterior and powertrain materials integration, respectively.
Bayer MaterialScience LLC offers innovative options that help provide significant weight savings, part integration, aesthetics, design freedom and performance enhancements using engineering thermoplastics and polyurethane composite technologies such as:
• The adoption of lightweight polymers to replace traditional materials such as glass and steel in exterior applications, including window glazing and body panel components.
• Polycarbonate roof modules that reduce weight and lower the center of gravity.
• Underbody applications that assist with battery location and sound reduction.
Lightweighting will likely continue to gain importance as the alternative energy vehicle (AEV) marketplace expands. The federal Annual Energy Outlook 2010 estimates that hybrid vehicle sales will increase from 2.6 percent of new light-duty vehicles sales in 2008 to 24.6 percent in 2035.
“The growing presence of AEVs is fueling a desire across the market for alternative materials vehicles that achieve lightweighting goals and sustainable aesthetics without comprising performance,” said Benda.
Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,300 employees at 30 production sites around the world and 2009 sales of 7.5 billion euros. The company manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical, and sports and leisure industries. Sustainability is central to Bayer MaterialScience LLC’s business and is based around the key areas of innovation, product stewardship, excellence in corporate management, social responsibility and respect for the environment.