Highlights of the SPE Auto Innovation Award’s Chassis, Powertrain Finalists

Three chassis/hardware and two powertrain innovative applications bear mention.

Three chassis/hardware and two powertrain innovative applications bear mention.

 

With a focus on innovative chassis and powertrain applications is yet another in my series of blogs on finalists of the 2015 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards. Take a look at three components in the chassis/hardware category and two in the powertrain category, respectively, which I see worthy of ‘honorable mention’.

 

• Carbon Composite Grille-Opening Reinforcement: Featured on the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang, is reportedly the first grille-opening reinforcement (GOR) panel to use short carbon fiber-reinforced nylon 66—Ultramid A3WC4 PA66 from BASF. Working with Tier I Magna Exteriors and its Plastcoat Div., a highly structural and lightweight part from a two-piece injection-molded box section design was produced using a unique joining process of resistant implant welding (RIW).

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Compared to the plastic-metal hybrid construction this GOR replaced, the material/process eliminated five steel stampings, reducing costs by 75% and mass by 24% (2.5 lb). Moreover, aesthetics were improved, allowing for the elimination of the beauty cover with its associated labor, cost, and weight, and the VOC emissions associated with rust-coating the steel stampings. Finally, NVH values were improved by 2 Hz.

 

• Door Protection Device: This patented part is also reportedly an industry first and is featured on all of the 2015 Ford Focus models. It is an articulating plastic door-edge protector that extends when the door opens, helping to prevent damage to the door and other nearby vehicles.

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Witte Automotive is the Tier I supplier of this device for which 12 of the 18 components (66%) it is comprised of are plastic, using Delrin polyacetal resins from DuPont Automotive and including a TPE edge dual-shot piece. By reducing door dings and dents, $1.5-million in warranty paint repairs can be saved plus another $500,000 of indirect costs due to prevention of damage during shipping. It also helps maintain craftsmanship of the vehicle over its use life.

 

• Engine-Room Partition Wall: Featured on the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, this all-plastic engine-room is injection molded by NVH Korea, Inc. from Kopla KDX 1065 nylon 66 from Kopla Co., Ltd. It provides excellent sound insulation between engine and passenger compartments thanks to the use of long-glass reinforced nylon 66 with barium sulfate.

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Replacing stamped steel plus a sound-deadening pad, this patented molded plastic partition reduces engine noise by eight decibels, lowers part count and assembly time, and offers a 20% weight reduction without increasing costs.

 

• Transmission Heat-Exchanger Cradle: Featured on Ford’s 2015 Lincoln MKC, this streamlined snap-fit designed structural cradle eliminated the need for metal fasteners and typical welded/bolted on metal designs. This system is injection-molded by A. Raymond Tinnerman of Noryl GTX 84 PPE/nylon 66 from SABIC.

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The new design led to significant cost savings thanks to lower assembly time for the cradle itself and the entire front engine module consisting of 15 components. By eliminating the corrosion risk associated with die-cast aluminum and stamped steel in conventional designs, this engineered thermoplastics unit improves structural performance at elevated temperatures, and saves cost and weight versus specialty materials.

 

• External Air Oil Separator: Featured on GM’s 2015 Chevrolet LT1 Camaro SS and Cadillac LT4 CTS-V, this nylon composite external air oil separator represents a new design. It is created via the use of multiple manufacturing technologies, including injection molding, vibration welding, and spin welding.

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Tier I supplier ErlingKlinger North America and DuPont Automotive worked together to create an intricate design that achieves superior oil separation in very limited package space. The material is a DuPont’s Zytel PLS95G35, a 35% glass-reinforced nylon 66. This resin’s special oxidation-barrier technology helps preserve mechanical properties at elevated temperatures and prolongs the unit’s service life.

 

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