Lightweighting, friction reduction drive DSM's plastics development

A major topic at this year's SAE World Congress, not surprisingly, is vehicle lightweighting in an effort to cut fuel consumption. Advanced high-strength steels and aluminum are a big part of the discussion, but so too are composites and plastics.

Notably, the American Chemistry Council's (ACC) Plastics Division used the opening day of the event to announce an updated road map, "Plastics and Polymer Composites Technology Roadmap for Automotive Markets," to help automakers and their suppliers meet upcoming fuel-efficiency standards. The plan calls for industry-wide collaborative demonstration projects to generate data, establish predictive models, and develop specifications to improve the manufacturing and assembling of new high-performance parts, according to the ACC.

On the show floor, companies such as DSM Engineering Plastics are showcasing the latest materials technologies that will help the industry in these efforts. For example, oil sumps in Akulon Ultraflow polyamide 6 are 60% lighter than the metal versions they replace at the same performance levels, according to DSM. The oil sumps are supplied by German company BBP in the case of the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class engine.

Bob Akins, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, DSM Engineering Plastics Americas, talked with Automotive Engineering in this video interview from the show floor of the SAE 2014 World Congress, touching on the latest developments in engineered plastics and the continued push toward lighter, cheaper, greener.

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