Highlights Of SPE Auto Awards In Chassis/Hardware Innovations

Check out these interesting finalists in the chassis/hardware category of the 2014 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards.

In this month’s issue, I reported on the award winners of the eight categories of the 2014 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards. Because I found nearly all the finalists worthy of mention, I’ve recently posted a series of blogs highlighting some of these other innovations by category, including interior, exterior, and materials. Here’s a look at three innovations in the chassis/hardware category.

 

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            • Flush Glass Power Backlite: This innovation is featured in the 2014 Ford F-150 pickup, which this week got the top award for pickup trucks at Detroit’s North American Automotive Show. This first-to-market hole-in-glass seamless sliding back window with engineered plastic framework addresses previous sealing and aesthetic issues with conventional complex multi-pane constructions for the pickup market. It is injection molded with PVC by Magna International’s Engineered Glass Division. It boasts improved appearance, styling, and operating performance that meet customer desires, while providing best-in-class sealing and water management, plus significant weight and assembly savings vs. traditional designs at similar costs. In addition, a heated version and flush design maximize line of sight for drivers. The innovation can be applied to other vehicles, and it allows the design studio more freedom since they are not limited to a single profile along the vehicle exterior.

 

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            • Plastic Reinforcement for Steel Truck Bumper: Featured on the 2014 Fiat Chrysler Dodge Ram 1500 pickup, and produced by Flex-N-Gate Corp., it is the first steel pickup truck bumper reinforced with an injection molded composite support bracket. The composite is SABIC IP’s Stamax 30YM240, a 30% long glass fiber (LGF) PP. The part provides an excellent stiffness/weight ratio required for durability, while reducing mass by 4 lb/vehicle and yielding a small cost savings. Predictive engineering with advanced fiber-orientation modeling was used to properly set up the injection mold.

 

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• TPE Jounce Bumper: Featured on the 2015 Fiat Chrysler Punto supermini car, it is injection and blow molded by Insit using Hytrel HTR8724 thermoplastic copolyester elastomer (TPC-ET) from DuPont. It is the first TPE jounce bumper that integrates several components into a single part to help deliver lower system costs and better performance. This includes improved durability, noise reduction, and mechanical properties under demanding conditions such as low temperatures, low humidity, or high loads. The use of an injection/blow molded TPE to replace foam polyurethane eliminates the need for metal or nylon saturation cups due to better saturation height control, which in turn allows total suspension height to be reduced. Additionally, 10% mass savings, shorter processing cycles, and lower systems costs were achieved.