In recent years, significant strides have been made in lightweighting. With the introduction of newer resins, OEMs have opportunities reduce the overall weight of vehicles without compromising durability and performance.
Drivers Behind Advanced Materials Exploration
The lightweighting efforts to date have been largely driven by CAFÉ standards and increased consumer awareness of sustainability. The trend towards advancing manufacturing processes to create high performing lightweighting materials continues to grow among automakers. Both interior and exterior components have been targeted to accomplish lightweighting goals.
Costs and Lightweighting
One of the major barriers to achieving lightweighting goals is the cost of materials. The slow and gradual adoption of new resins used in automotive manufacturing has been tied to higher costs for OEMs. Identifying the right materials and experimentation with various advanced manufacturing processes has played a pivotal role in widening access to newer, lightweight composites.
Noteworthy Breakthroughs Achieved in Composite Manufacturing
Braskem, an American petrochemical company, recently introduced new resins to the marketplace. The HS4506 and HS4506A plastic resins were produced with comonomers and innovative engineering processes. Both the HS4506 and HS4506A resins were engineered specifically for automotive fuel tank applications. The resins for newer automotive applications can withstand corrosive environments and demonstrate impressive corrosion and weather resistance.
GE Advanced Materials recently introduced a new grade, CY8620, to its Cycoloy resin product group. The high impact resins were developed for interior applications such as instrument panel components. Automotive components manufactured for automotive systems subject to high temperatures and humidity levels will gain from this durable resin.
ExxonMobil introduced the versatile ICP PP resin to address the automotive industry’s needs for quality, lightweight, sustainable composites that can be used in both exterior and interior parts and components. This particular polymer has experienced tremendous success where material selection considerations centered on performance attributes like corrosion resistance and maximum formability.
CAFÉ standards for 2017-2025 aims to increase fuel economy by 60 percent. By 2021, CAFÉ standards for passenger cars will shoot for 46 mpg. Light truck vehicles are expected to reach 33 mpg. The key to achieving these aggressive lightweighting goals lies in improved lean manufacturing processes and advanced next generation composite materials. Dixien, LLC is committed to supporting tier 1 OEMs and suppliers as they advance toward their lightweighting goals.