SPE Auto Innovation Awards Winners Span Nine Categories
The 2016 interior category winner was also the grand award winner.
The winners of the Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Division’s 2016 Automotive Innovation Awards spanned nine categories, including the winner of the interior category, which also garnered the “grand award”.
A panel of Blue Ribbon judges, which I again had the fortune to be on, voted for this year’s most innovative uses of plastics in automotive parts.
As in previous years, these nine winners as well as several of the other final nominees presented applications that were unique and often times represented a “first”, either as a metal replacement or as an improved plastic replacement.
It is interesting to see that this year, thermoplastics weighed-in in eight of the awards, with thermosets featured in one, with ‘composites’ popping up often.
Let’s take a look at the 2016 “grand award winner”, the second consecutive year in which the body interior category received that honor, as well as the winners of the body exterior and materials categories. I will follow up with a blog on the winners of the other six categories, and in subsequent blog posts, I’ll highlight some of the other finalists in each of those categories that I’m certain you’ll find merit attention for their innovations.
Body Interior & Grand Award Winner: Composite Suspensions for Upper and Lower Backs. Characterized as a “perfect position seat” suspension system, thanks to integrated composite designs, they are featured in Ford’s 2017 Lincoln Continental luxury sedan. This system, for which 83 patents have been filed, is said to deliver tuned suspension to optimize occupant comfort by cradling the upper back and providing side-torso support, which flexes to accommodate various occupant sizes.