International Plastics News for Asia

Special materials for today's automotive industry

Ford, Fiat and Toyota were recently recognised with "Most Innovative Use of Plastics Awards" by the Society of Plastics Engineers for their innovative use of renewable materials for their components. In particular, these are two renewably sourced DuPont materials – Zytel RS nylon and Sorona EP polymer – while another component uses Hytrel TPC-ET.

The specially developed Zytel RS grade for Fiat’s diesel and bio diesel fuel lines helped Fiat, Hutchinson SRL, Rivoli, Italy, and DuPont win top honors in the Environmental category. The use of Sorona EP for Prius a (Prius alpha) instrument-panel air-conditioning system components helped Toyota, Kojima Press Industry, Howa Plastics and DuPont earn finalist status in the Materials category.

The automotive industry has been expanding its material portfolio, and the transition to use renewable materials also took into consideration superior performance and environment protection. Zytel RS contains more than 60% renewably sourced ingredient by weight and it was chosen for its superior temperature resistance and long-term aging performance. These appealed to Fiat which adopted it for its Fiat 500, Panda, Punto, Lancia Delta, Alfa Romeo MiTo and Giulietta. Sorona EP, which contains between 20% and 37% renewably sourced material by weight derived from plant sugar, enhances design option and meets performance needs for the new Prius instrument-panel air-conditioning system outlet components.

Ford, Brose, Camoplast, Mitsuba and DuPont won the Chassis/Hardware category by replacing steel in the Ford Focus power-window system. The new design taps the inherent damping characteristics of Hytrel® TPC-ET primarily to reduce noise and also weight.

All these developments point to more innovative use of plastics for ground transportation applications. With the drive to reduce carbon footprint, the tie up between the plastics and automotive industries will definitely create an important partnership in protecting the environment.

I congratulate the SPE, which for more than four decades, have honored companies in this largest competition of its kind in the world and the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries.