Thermoplastics enabling automotive innovation

01-Nov-12
Touted as America’s most fuel-efficient five-passenger vehicle, the all-electric Ford Focus relies on its high-voltage EV battery pack to achieve an extended driving range of 76 miles, fuel economy of 105 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) and a fast charge time. Ford selected SABIC’s NORYL GFN resin for the battery housing because the material enables thin-wall molding to free up space for more battery cells. The combination of thin-wall design and low specific gravity of the NORYL GFN resin reduces weight by 15%. This modified-polyphenylene ether (MPPE) resin also delivers excellent dimensional stability and property retention in demanding environments. The elegant design of the Citroën DS5 is enhanced by its softly curved rear quarter windows that smoothly integrate an aerodynamic spoiler and roof pillar. LEXAN GLX resin enables a 3D design that cannot be executed with glass, and also cuts overall glazing weight by one-fifth. These are the largest rear quarter windows in production, and also the first to use injection-compression molding to reduce residual stresses. The components benefit from the high cleanliness, weatherability and coating compatibility of this new SABIC material. SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business commended Ford Motor Company and PSA Peugeot Citroën Group for innovative use of the supplier’s thermoplastic materials in two separate applications, which were recently named finalists in the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE®’s) 42nd-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Competition. The first of these is the Ford Focus Electric’s high-voltage battery pack molded from SABIC’s NORYL™ GFN resin, which helps give the new electric vehicle extended driving range, greater battery capacity and lighter weight than traditional materials. The second application is the rear quarter window glazing for the Citroën DS5 hatchback. Molded from LEXAN™ GLX polycarbonate (PC) resin, the glazing enables an ambitious three-dimensional design and a 20 percent weight savings vs. glass. NORYL GFN and LEXAN GLX resins are two examples of SABIC’s continued commitment to help automotive customers cut vehicle weight for improved fuel economy, drive advancements in EV technology and have greater freedom to create world-class designs. In addition to the two finalist applications, SABIC materials were featured in four additional award nominations: The front fender of the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport compact sport-utility vehicle (SUV) was nominated for groundbreaking two-cavity injection molding using SABIC’s NORYL GTX resin. Molding the right and left components simultaneously cuts cycle time in half. The design integrates brackets for the pedestrian energy absorber. The 2013 Chevrolet Volt portable EV charger, made by Delphi Corp., relies on multiple SABIC VALOX™ resin grades, which provide high performance and regulatory compliance. The 2012 Fiat Panda’s rear bumper beam is the first hybrid plastic/steel bumper system capable of e-coating (electro-deposition coating) by the OEM. It is made from NORYL GTX resin. This approach reduces weight and cost and provides superior energy absorption vs. metal alone. The 2013 Lincoln MKZ luxury sedan's console cupholder inner doors are the first to use nano talc-filled CYCOLOY™ resin for an interior, molded-in color application. The SABIC material provides improved heat resistance compared to unfilled acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and PC/ABS, allowing the OEM to meet high temperature load-deflection requirements.
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