Preparing for More Efficient & Smart Cars

NEW TRENDS IN AUTOMOTIVE SECTOR CREATES FRESH OPPORTUNITIES FOR PLASTIC MATERIALS.

In July 2012, the European Commission came forward with a regulatory proposal for newly registered cars to set an average target of 95 g/km or lower CO2 emission until 2020. This regulation was adopted in March 2014 and depending on the average vehicle weight of the manufacturer’s fleet, the regulation requires to reduce CO2 emissions by 27% compared to their individual 2015 targets.

In 2005, gasoline and diesel engines had an average CO2 emission around 165 g/km and 155 g/km respectively. When we look at 2015, gasoline and diesel engines showed a steep reduction and achieved an average CO2 emission around 125 g/km and 120 g/km. Meanwhile hybrid engines also showed a very good reduction in CO2 emission; from 120 g/km to 90 g/km in years between 2005 and 2015. This has been achieved by extracting more power from smaller engines while keeping the weight of the vehicle almost the same.

When we look at high performance plastics market in automotive, the most widely used materials are based on PPA and PPS. And eurotec® is more than ready to supply them under the trade names of Tecomid® HT & Tecotron®. Tecomid® HT & Tecotron® can achieve CUT up to 180 °C and 210 °C respectively and there are many ready and proven grades for the automotive industry.

Automotive manufacturers need to continue with getting more power from smaller engines trend and they should also keep the weight down or same in order to achieve the 2020 target. This trend will also set the pace for plastic industry and will encourage the use of more plastics in the vehicles. To extract more power from smaller engines they will need to work at higher temperatures. Therefore engine components will be required to work under higher thermal load. This would require materials that have higher continuous use temperature (CUT) and they should retain its mechanical properties at elevated temperatures.

Another trend for low CO2 emission is the use of hybrid technology. While hybrid technology reduces the CO2 emissions, they require high electrical power distribution through the vehicle. Along with the increase in sensor numbers and the use of more capable electronic devices, power requirement in the vehicles has drastically increased. This growth in power need also increases the risk of fire in the vehicle. When you include the elevated engine compartment temperature, new solutions needs to be found… eurotec® with its wide range of product portfolio has already provide a high performance solution;

Tecomid® NT40 GD40 BK009 XA61 (PPA, 40% glass fiber reinforced, flame retardant and heat stabilized). This grade was recently approved by respectable OEM group for new generation of inverter housing application where standard PBT and PET materials cannot provide the required CUT.

Additional issue for the hybrid technology is increased weight due to additional electric engines and batteries. Also in future of automotive industry, the vehicles will get smarter and autonomous. Infotainment systems will be even more complex and numerous. All these additional sensors, cables and screens will also increase the weight of the vehicle. In the meantime, in future vehicles you will be able live and relax in the passenger cabin instead of driving the vehicle. Therefore in future vehicles aesthetics of the cabin interior will be more important than ever! So the new challenge is, meeting all these needs without increasing the weight of the vehicle.

Smart cars are also a hot trend in the automotive industry. From the increased safety features to autonomous driving, transition seems to be on the way. However executing this transition, should not increase the CO2 emissions of the vehicles. Therefore while implementing new sensors and infotainment systems, weight of the vehicle should not increase. This requirement generates an opportunity for new generation of plastic materials and intelligent solutions. As eurotec® always willing to offer unique solutions through its vast variety of possibilities and knowledge, provides many grades for metal replacement & plastic replacement for weight reduction projects.

Materials like Tecomid® NA40 KT20 NL HS 03 (PA6.6+PP, 20% glass fiber & glass bubble reinforced, heat stabilized), glass bubbles can be implemented where PA6.6 GF30 is used but simply over engineered in the terms of its mechanical properties. Tecomid® NA40 KT20 NL HS 03 can provide ~18% weight reduction when compared to a standard PA6.6 GF30 and provides good mechanical properties where most automotive application needs will be met. Also a new generation of Tecomid® materials has been generated to preplace PA applications that works in room condition. One of the example of these grades is Tecomid® NA43 GR40 NL HS03. The grade has a 125 MPa tensile strength and 10000 MPa tensile modulus after conditioning and shows promise to replace PA66 GF50 applications without any cost up and with ~13% weight reduction possibility. Furthermore materials like Tecomid® NG and GD series provide new possibilities in metal replacement. When Tecomid® NG polymer base is combined with GD series, perfect surface finish can be achieved even with 60% glass fiber reinforcement at 80°C mold temperature. This combination can remove any need of painting application and show much better performance then aluminum in fatigue tests.

New trends and their targets are set for the new generation of vehicles. Smarter, lighter and more efficient vehicles are coming to our lives in the near future and eurotec, a reliable and innovative thermoplastic material supplier, is ready to meet the expectations.

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