INNOVATIONS BLOG

Plastic Side Mirrors for Cars

Posted by NOVATION Staff on Feb 8, 2018 1:04:53 PM

Plastic Glass for Automobiles.jpgAn Australian plastics scientist has won the inaugural Prime Minister's Prize for New Innovators for creating a process that allows manufacturers to replace glass components with light-weight plastic.

Dr Colin Hall and his colleagues at the University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute combined micron thin layers of plastics to develop a material that can replace glass in cars, aircraft, spacecraft, and even whitegoods – making them lighter and more efficient.

One of the first applications for the technology has been the creation of shatter-proof plastic side mirrors for cars that are now being exported to the US. The mirrors are made in Adelaide, South Australia, by SMR Automotive and have earned AUD$160m (£101m, US$123m) in exports to date.

Over the last five years, the Ford Motor Company has purchased more than 1.6 million assemblies for the plastic side mirrors for use on its F-Series trucks.

Car makers have long searched for new ways to reduce the body weight of vehicles and the car-wing mirror design weighs a fraction of the conventional glass product.

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Topics: Automotive

Smart Bumpers, Tailgates, and more... Oh My!

Posted by NOVATION Staff on Jan 23, 2018 10:05:23 AM

smart bumpers and tailgates.pngWatch out Apple, Plastic Omnium is getting into the facial recognition game too. Wanna open your tailgate? Just give it a look. The interactive tailgate was one of several smart exterior parts on display at the company's booth at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Company officials touted smart exterior parts made of plastics as the future of automotive parts and discussed its aggressive bid to enter the hydrogen fuel cell market. Co-CEO Jean-Michel Szczerba said he expects many exterior parts to be made of plastics in the future, including doors, roofs and hoods. Say goodbye to steel and aluminum, and hello to advanced composites.

The company displayed an intelligent bumper: a complete system with lidar and radar built in, active air-flow management, a crash box made with high-performance composites, and protections for the expensive sensors and radars. The rear tailgate uses LED lighting as a design feature and even displays messages for other drivers or pedestrians. Conductive coatings and paints could allow for touch open as well.

"We want to utilize plastic as much as possible," said Marc Cornet, president and CEO of the Americas, Auto Exterior division. "Radar sensors can't transmit through steel or aluminum. But it can through plastics."

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Topics: Automotive

NEW Self-reinforcing Heat Performance PA66 for Automotive Industry...

Posted by NOVATION Staff on Nov 17, 2016 10:28:37 AM

Solvay has at launched at K 2016 Technyl® REDx, a new heat performance polyamide 6.6 (PA66) integrating a unique “smart molecule” self-reinforcement technology.

Heat Performance Technology
Technyl® REDx PA66 – an innovative material, which builds on Solvay Engineering Plastics’ proven heat performance expertise, outperforms conventional specialty polymers in demanding thermal management systems, especially in the automotive industry. Dr. James Mitchell, Global Automotive Market Director for Solvay Engineering Plastics, said:
“Today, more than 12 million engines use Technyl® heat performance technologies. Our materials enable car manufacturers to overcome engine downsizing constraints, such as greatly increased temperatures and pressures. There is a need for new material solutions which resist the higher continuous heat stress of new generation engines without compromising on costs and performance.”

Features of Technyl® REDx
• Solvay developed Technyl® REDx PA66, a smart molecule material including a patented self-strengthening technology present in the polymer chain without affecting its structure.
• This brand new technology remains inactive during injection molding of car parts, leaving the material behaving like a high-flow PA66.
• During the vehicle’s use, the elevated temperatures activate the smart technology, leading to rapid cross-linking that boosts the mechanical properties far beyond their initial values.

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Topics: Automotive

Recycling of Plastic Auto Parts Gains Attention...

Posted by NOVATION Staff on Jun 15, 2016 9:30:00 AM

There is a buzz about automotive plastics recycling these days, and I’ll bet that in the not-so-distant future we will hear about some of the advances being made. Last week I blogged about MBA Polymers starting up what appears to be the first production of PC/ABS pellets derived from shredded WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment). But the company’s claim-to-fame is its now five-year-old Workshop, U.K. plant, which is reportedly the world’s largest (annual production capacity of up to 176 million lb) and most advanced facility for recovering plastics and rubber from automotive shredder residue. Its proprietary processes reportedly use less than 20% of the energy needed to produce virgin resins. In a bit of serendipity, other news on this front emerged last week: SPI released its new report, Automotive Recycling: Devalued is now Revalued, which highlights innovative use of recycled content and achievements in zero waste in manufacturing, as well as promoting increased recycling of plastic automotive parts. At the same time, SPI noted the while automotive recycling is leading other industries—with 95% of automobiles recycled at the end of their practical life, the recycling of plastic materials in automobiles, is in its infancy.

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Topics: Automotive