DuPont looks to computer modeling in R&D

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: October 18, 2013 2:01 pm ET
Updated: October 21, 2013 5:01 am ET

DuPont -bumper-jpg

Image By: DuPont Co. A Hytrel TPE single-part jounce bumper, bottom, integrates four different parts of the original, polyurethane version, top.

Related to this story

Topics Materials Suppliers, K 2013, Business News & Features
Companies & Associations DuPont Co.

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Before a lighter car hits the road, automakers have to believe it is possible to make a safe, reliable car with lighter parts.

For the plastics industry, that means going beyond a sales meeting and into the design studio and even beyond the studio into the engineering software used to develop new cars long before the rubber meets the road.

"We need to be able to help our customers with their computer modeling," said Lewis Manring, global technology vice president for DuPont Performance Polymers and Automotive technologies.

Automakers have long used computer modeling to do virtual tests on parts and are comfortable with those results, but by and large the auto industry is made up of mechanical engineers familiar with predictive studies on metal, not the stresses of a long-glass-fiber-reinforced composite or a carbon-fiber part.

Crash tests designed for metal body parts do not translate well to composites, while impact studies for composites used in other industries, like aeronautics, do not use the same statistics — for example, an off-set low speed collision, as the auto industry. Suppliers need to develop reliable tests specifically for automakers that automakers will trust.

So, to help DuPont Co. and its partner ElringKlinger AG land a contract for the oil pan on a commercial truck, Manring said, the company developed a computer model predicting how the pan would withstand a standard impact test for an oil pan when it was hit by a small pellet. Then the suppliers also did the physical test for the part with DuPont's Zytel polyamide.

The customer was able to observe the computer prediction and the actual test side-by-side — and saw that they matched. Confident that they could trust the model during continued development, the company signed on for the material switch.

"Work on modeling will help us with development," Manring said in a pre-K webcast.

Software is one small piece of the big picture that DuPont (Hall 6/C43) and other companies are undertaking to stake a claim for more business in the global auto industry.

In North America, new U.S. fuel economy standards are prompting carmakers to shift to lighter parts, while stricter carbon-dioxide emission rules in Europe are also opening new opportunities.

However, plastics firms must look beyond merely stepping into the same role that aluminum or steel has played.

"There's work we can do now that will take us through the next five or 10 years with existing technologies, but we're looking at 2020 and 2028 and beyond and where we can take it even further," said Mike Day, automotive development director for North America at DuPont Performance Polymers "We need new materials and new applications — more than just a substitution type of philosophy."

Oil pans are an expected growth area for plastics, but following quickly behind that are parts for transmissions and integrated charge air coolers for turbocharged engines.

The earlier plastics suppliers begin working on future parts, the better, Day said. Those companies can begin to influence future business by showing potential beyond what the automaker might have originally considered.

Ford Motor Co. was originally seeking a way to improve an engine's sound performance using turbo boosting technology Ford calls EcoBoost. The solution combined an injection molded resonator, inserted inside a blow molded duct using technology first created for fuel tanks.


Comments

DuPont looks to computer modeling in R&D

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: October 18, 2013 2:01 pm ET
Updated: October 21, 2013 5:01 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

EPA fines RI polymer company

August 29, 2014 1:20 pm ET

A Rhode Island polymer manufacturer has reached a $60,000 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating federal clean...    More

Image

Chinese compounders seek market shares, often at the expense of margins

August 29, 2014 10:02 am ET

China's largest compounder, Kingfa Sci. & Tech. Co. Ltd., as well as its more automotive-focused counterparts Shanghai Pret Composites Co. Ltd. and...    More

Image

PP prices rise 5 cents

August 28, 2014 3:59 pm ET

After a one-month break, volatility has returned to the North American polypropylene resin market, with prices increasing by an average of 5 cents...    More

Image

DuPont fined for 2010 chemicals release

August 28, 2014 1:37 pm ET

DuPont Co. has been fined almost $1.3 million for the release of several chemicals — including plastics feedstock phosgene — at its plant ...    More

Image

LyondellBasell to build feedstock plant on Gulf Coast

August 28, 2014 11:05 am ET

LyondellBasell Industries will build a world scale propylene oxide plant on the U.S. Gulf Coast with a capacity of 900,000 metric tons per year.    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events