Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has driven home with top honors in the Safety category of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Innovation Awards competition. The SPE automotive division announced all award winners at its annual gala last week, held in Livonia, Michigan.
This is the 45th edition of the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards, which recognises the year’s most innovative uses of plastics on production vehicles.
The Safety category winner is the floor rocker reinforcement of the 2015 Jeep Renegade, which uses NORYL GTX resin from SABIC in a plastic-metal hybrid design to realize significant weight savings with improved side impact performance.
“We are thrilled to share industry recognition with our valued customer,” said Scott Fallon, senior director of SABIC’s automotive business. “Driving innovation forward for the benefit of our customers is at the heart of what we do. This award exemplifies our ability to deliver on that mission. It also demonstrates our capability to support and collaborate with our customers and their development partners from the earliest stages of design and engineering.”
Floor rocker reinforcement cuts weight by 45 percent, offers improved crashworthiness
The Jeep Renegade fits the floor rocker reinforcement into a hollow space within the vehicle’s rocker panel just below the B pillar. Welding the part directly to the inner part of the rocker panel allows for ease of assembly with no change or disruption to the existing assembly process.
The lightweight hybrid part uses NORYL GTX 910 resin, a blend of polyphenylene ether and polyamide material (PPE/PA), in a geometric honeycomb design with metal flanges.
This plastic-metal hybrid solution replaces multiple steel stampings for weight savings of 45 percent and delivers the stiffness, impact resistance and energy absorption capability needed to meet side impact requirements.
“This novel hybrid part is a great example of our ability to help the industry adopt new approaches and support needed innovation,” said Fallon. “We recognized the potential of mixed-material solutions early on and are actively working on additional opportunities to help automakers cut weight, costs and manufacturing complexity.”
He says SABIC is working on developing plastic-metal hybrid solutions for other body-in-white (BIW) components like A/B/C pillars.
In addition to enabling weight savings and improved crashworthiness, use of NORYL GTX resin allows the floor rocker reinforcement to go through the E-Coat (electrophoretic coating) painting process with the rest of the BIW.
Also sharing in the award: system supplier Gruppo Proma, molder RT Technologies and toolmaker Redstamp.
2015 Dodge Challenger’s rear lamp reflector a finalist
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also had a finalist in the Materials category – the rear lamp reflector of the 2015 Dodge Challenger.
This application uses LEXAN LUX 2289 resin, a polycarbonate material from SABIC. LEXAN LUX resin allows for a unique diffused appearance, while maintaining color and reflectivity performance under sustained high temperatures.
By eliminating post-processing steps like direct metallisation and painting, an estimated cost savings of 40 percent per reflector is possible.
The system supplier and moulder is Varroc Lighting Systems.
The SPE Automotive Innovation Awards program is the oldest and largest competition of its kind in the automotive and plastics industries.