The trend for lightweighting parts across the plastics industry extends far beyond improved fuel efficiency and handling for our automobiles. Of course, transportation is the most obvious sector which has embraced lightweighting. This sector includes personal automobiles, trucks, aerospace and public transportation vehicles. Electric mobility powered by batteries, is also focused on lightweighting parts to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle since batteries are typically heavy.

Other areas that lightweighting can be beneficial:

  • parts that we use in our everyday lives can be easier to lift or to operate.
  • pedestrians are safer because of engineered impact reduction.
  • lower shipping costs are possible.
  • conservation of our natural resources.

Lightweighted parts must be designed to have the same mechanical strength of the existing part. Lightweight construction is not only a question of the material. It depends far more on the interaction between the material, part design and manufacturing process. Reinforcing materials are used to achieve a high degree of stiffness, impact strength, low shrinkage and good abrasion resistance for components with thin wall cross-sections. New combinations of materials are being used to reduce weight and also improve the mechanical characteristics of the part. Hybrid components which include reinforced parts can meet and even exceed the increasingly demanding specifications by customers.