— Styron , a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber; helped Ford win the SPE innovation award for Safety. Styron was part of a multi-collaborative development project, with partners Magna Exterior (system supplier and molder) and Advantage Mold (Toolmaker). With Styron’s material, Ford developed an industry first – integrated plastic bracket (for hood bump-stop and headlamp attachments) that significantly reduces the risk of head injuries sustained on impact by a car travelling 40 km/hour. Styron’s INSPIRE™ long glass fiber polypropylene resin (LGF PP) contributed significantly to absorbing the impact, consequently helping Ford to meet new US Safety regulations. The new patented application was first introduced on the new Ford Fusion, which was launched late summer 2012.
Developing a new design to meet new US safety regulations
Traditionally, Ford used separate hood bump-stops and headlamp attachment brackets with steel components. The new design consists of one part only and is entirely produced with plastics material. By using this integrated plastic bracket, the Head Injury Criterion (HIC) is reduced by approximately 30% of its original value, which enables Ford to meet the Pedestrian Protection (PedPro), a new requirement for the US automotive market. Further benefits of this innovative design include several additional design advantages including: flexibility – the design can be used on other vehicles; and assemblage simplicity – it is less complex to assemble because it only consists of one part.
Integrated plastic bracket recognized as true innovation by SPE
Yesterday, this new design was crowned the winner in the safety category at the 42nd annual SPE Innovation Awards Gala, sponsored by the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers. The annual gala is the world’s oldest and largest awards event in the automotive and plastics industries; which offers recognition of the latest innovations in plastics and composites in ground transportation.
“We are proud to have helped Ford win this prestigious accolade. For Styron in particular, this recognition is significant because safety is one of the megatrends driving the automotive industry and one of Styron’s key innovation areas. Ford’s innovative plastic bracket shows how increased use of plastics gives car manufacturers more options and allows for safer, better performing vehicles,” says Rodrigo Covarrubias, Account Manager from Styron Automotive. “This award shows that by working closely together within the value chain, truly innovative solutions can be created. The integrated plastic bracket will be rolled out on the new Ford Fusion initially, but can easily be integrated into other Ford models in the future as well.”
INSPIRE™ LGF PP to improve impact
Styron Automotive introduced INSPIRE™ into the equation because it is a polypropylene reinforced with 30% of long glass fibers that provides high stiffness, strength and impact-resistance to the injection molded part. The unique addition of adding glass fibers to the material proved crucial in order to meet the performance requirements of the integrated plastic bracket. The plastic bracket is a structural under the hood application that has to be flexible to reduce impact, whilst simultaneously having the ability to withstand tensile stress.
“Styron’s INSPIRE™ LGF PP was the appropriate material to create the integrated plastic bracket, explains Erasmo Aguilar, Development Specialist from Styron Automotive. “This high performance grade has unique properties to improve its impact resistance and durability. Whereas previously the bracket consisted of steel components, Ford has succeeded in developing a fully integrated plastics solution that not only reduces the total weight of the application, but is also easier to process. We are proud to have been part of this successful development process.”