Highlights Of Interior Applications' Finalists of SPE Auto Innovation Awards

Check out these three interesting finalists of the 2014 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards within the interior applications category.

In our January 2015 issue, I reported on the award winners of the eight categories of the 2014 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards and noted that just about all other finalists are newsworthy. Here are three innovations in the interior applications category that grabbed my attention.

 

Door-Trim Local Reinforcement With Tapes: This is featured in the 2014 Ford Transit Courier B460 van and was produced by Turkey’s Fompak Automotive Plastics and Interiors. The injection molded part is produced using Celstran CFR-TP PP-GF 70-13 glass/PP tapes from Celanese. To improve mechanical properties in select locations on this door-trim panel, unidirectional glass/PP tapes were added locally late in this program. While contributing less than 1% to part mass, the tapes improved impact, stiffness and strength by a factor of five without need to change tooling. Tapes are inserted into the tool via automatic fixation and held in place prior to ovemolding via magnet or glue. The technique can be applied to either injection or compression molding and is very universal, so it can be transferred to other OEMs, vehicle lines and systems. Also notable are that crack propagation during crash tests is stopped and there is a reduction fuel consumption resulting from weight savings compared to the previous use of glass-fiber reinforced PP or nylon which increased weight by about 20%.

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Instrument Panel (IP) Top Storage Bin and Device Dock: This is featured in the 2015 Ford Figo subcompact car and was injection molded by Mitchell Plastics, Kitchner, Ont., using SABIC’s Cycoloy LG8002 PC/ABS, Celanese’s Celcon UV90Z POM, and BASF’s Ultramic A3WG7 Nylon 6. This personal electronic device docking with spring clutch provides IP storage as well as charging capability and is a new feature for improved utility and customer satisfaction. This patent-pending device also facilitates hands-free phone usage for reduced driver distraction when having a conversation, listening to music, or using satellite navigation. The application can be translated to other vehicle lines.

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Temperature Averaging Discharge Air Sensor: This is featured in the 2014 Ford Fusion mid-size car and was injection molded by Germany’s TDK-EPC AG, using Bergamid A70H nylon 66 and B70G30 nylon 6 GF30 from PolyOne Th. Bermann GmbH. This all-plastic air sensor performs the averaging of duct-air temperature without use of a metal plate. By using an optimized “Christmas tree” mounting system, a wide range of duct wall thicknesses can be accommodated without need of a rubber O-ring, saving cost of about 12% and weight of about 38%. Since it directly measures air temperature, the patent-pending system offers faster sensor response time, which in turn translates to improved fuel savings. It also incorporates a poka-yoke feature to ensure proper installation, and can be transferred to other vehicle lines.

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