2012 Lightweighting Special: DuPont undertakes lightweighting initiatives to improve vehicle performance

Lightweighting and performance enhancement are its core area of expertise.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 31 May 2012 Views icon3676 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
DuPont India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the US-based E I du Pont de Nemours and Company, a science and technology firm, is marketing a gamut of products targeted for various market segments including electronics and transportation.

The company has production facilities at Savli near Vadodara in Gujarat for performance polymers, crop protection products and refinish paints that also service the automotive sector besides a facility at Madurai in Tamil Nadu for filaments and non-stick coatings.

Last year, it established an Innovation Centre at Pune for promoting local collaboration with customers and value chain partners as part of its strategy of growing further in India. Yasuhiko Ohashi, general manager of the India Innovation Center, when queried on the company’s core area of expertise in the field of hi-performance engineering plastics, said it was lightweighting and performance enhancement.

DuPont supplies its products to most of the automotive OEMs in India as well as local and global players. These products are used in components ranging from powertrain, thermal management, automotive electronics, chassis, exteriors and interiors.

When Autocar Professional asked Ohashi on India’s ranking in the overall development and use of plastic components compared to developed markets, he said it was difficult to sum it in one word. “One example is weight per vehicle. It is about 15 to 20kg in developed markets while it is less than half in India.”

He visualises the market opportunity for engineering plastics in India to be huge. Nevertheless, he maintains that penetration ratio by plastics is much less and penetration by vehicles is still lower than one percent while in a developed country it is over 60 percent of the total population. The current dominant trends in the Indian automotive plastics market is improvement in fuel economy via weight reduction, total cost reduction by each component and through total systems.

While most of the plastic parts can replace metal components in exterior and interior areas, many opportunities exist for utilising plastic in other segments as well. Both application and new product development should work simultaneously, feels Ohashi. Both the DuPont Innovation Center at Pune and the Knowledge Center at Hyderabad are undertaking integrated work on it.

SHOBHA MATHUR
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