Ford, Fiat and Toyota walked away with innovation awards at the 2011 Society of Plastics Engineers “Most Innovative Use of Plastics Awards” event for components that use two renewably sourced DuPont materials — DuPont™ Zytel® RS nylon and DuPont™ Sorona® EP polymer — and one component using DuPont™ Hytrel® TPC-ET thermoplastic polyester elastomer.
A 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.
Use of DuPont™ Sorona® EP polymer for Prius α (Prius alpha) instrument-panel air-conditioning system components helped Toyota, Kojima Press Industry, Howa Plastics and DuPont earn finalist status in the Materials category.
Dramatic changes in the industry
“There’s always been interest from the auto industry in the broad renewably sourced portfolio, but now we are transitioning quickly to adoption,” said Mike Day, automotive development director, North America, DuPont Performance Polymers. “The change is based in part on superior performance, but also because of the value these products deliver in use.”
DuPont™ Zytel® RS nylon, which contains more than 60 percent renewably sourced ingredient by weight, was chosen instead of PA12 for superior temperature resistance and long-term aging performance. The application is widely adopted by Fiat, debuting on the Fiat 500, Panda, Punto, Lancia Delta, Alfa Romeo MiTo and Giulietta.
DuPont™ Sorona® EP polymer, which contains between 20 and 37 percent 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.
“We all recognize the dramatic changes in the industry — from the technologies that power the vehicle to the interior design,” said Day. “More than ever, we need to work collaboratively with our customers to develop cost-effective solutions that consumers desire.”
For more than four decades, the Society of Plastics Engineers has honored the "Most Innovative Use of Plastics" in automotive and ground-transportation applications, becoming the largest competition of its kind in the world and the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries.