Plastics News

Ford Motor Co. was named grand winner of the 46th annual Automotive Innovation Awards Competition for the plastic composite suspension system in 2017 Lincoln Continental front row seats.

The modular seating system integrates extensive plastics throughout, reducing total seat weight by 8 percent and cost by 15 percent despite adding more features.

Leggett & Platt Inc. and Magna International Inc. supplied the part, using materials from BASF Corp., Advanced Composites Inc. and DuPont Co. The processors were Summit Plastic Molding and Century Plastics, and the mold makers were Summit Plastic Molding and Mega Mold.

The other category winners in the contest, which is sponsored by the Society of Plastics Engineers’ Automotive division, are:

In the Aftermarket category, General Motors Co. for the carbon fiber composite spoiler developed for the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette sports car, with a mass reduction of 40 percent. The part is supplied by deBotech Inc. using Solvay materials.

In the Body Exterior category, Ford for the injection molded, all-composite front-end module bolster on the 2016 Super Duty pickup. The design requires no metal reinforcement, saving 3 pounds and $3 per vehicle. Celanese Corp. supplied materials for the part, supplied by Shape Corp.

In the Chassis/Hardware category, General Motors for the glass-reinforced nylon strut mount on the 2016 Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan. The parts reduce mass 30 percent vs. typical steel and aluminum parts, while also reducing noise transmission through the suspension system. The supplier was ContiTech North America Inc., and BASF Corp. supplied the material.

In the Environmental category, General Motors for closed-loop recycling of plastic bottles. Parts made from recycled plastic were used in the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain cross-over utility vehicles. Wm. T. Burnett & Co. supplied the material, processed by Rogers Foam Co. Exo-s was the part supplier.

In the Materials category, General Motors for the thermoplastic elastomer vacuum brake tubes on 2016 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. The design is 30 percent lighter and also eliminates brackets. Cooper Standard supplied the parts, using material from DSM Engineering Plastics.

In the Powertrain category. Volkswagen AG for the glass-reinforced polypropylene air intake manifolds in 2015 EA21 1.6-liter engines. The parts are 15-20 percent lighter, and cost is reduced 25-30 percent. Supplier Hua Tao Ltd. used materials from Sabic.

In the Process/Assembly/Enabling Technologies category, General Motors for robotic laser cutting and welding technology used for the Class A exterior fascia on the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 sports car. With the system, clean cuts can be made in one second on the painted side of the part. The part was supplied by Magna Exteriors Inc. using materials from LyondellBasell and tooling from Jenoptik AG.

And in the Safety category, Ford for the composite seat cushion frame and storage door in the 2016 Super Duty pickup. The plastic composite replaces magnesium, reducing the part’s carbon footprint. The part was supplied by Royal Technologies Corp. The material supplier was Celanese Corp. and Vortec Tooling Solutions Inc. supplied tooling.

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