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

Two Eastman buildings among 10 biggest energy savers in national contest

April 22, 2014 11:35 am ET

Two offices at the headquarters of Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport, Tenn., ranked in the Top 10 for energy efficiency in the latest Energy Star...    More

DuPont: Asia's food packaging market at a major transition point

April 21, 2014 1:26 pm ET

DuPont Co. touted its packaging innovations and applications, and updated the firm's commercial status at a media event two days before the Chinaplas ...    More

Chinese coal mining company Jinhui launches bioplastic factory

April 21, 2014 10:18 am ET

Chinese coal mining company Shanxi Jinhui Energy Group Co. Ltd. is diversifying into bioplastics, launching production this month on a $35 million,...    More

Taiwan's TSRC expands in Nantong

April 21, 2014 10:08 am ET

Taiwan's TSRC Corp. said April 21 it has opened a 25,000-metric-ton capacity styrene-isoprene-styrene block copolymer manufacturing facility in...    More

Image

'Thermoforming has nearly limitless possibilities'

April 18, 2014 12:54 pm ET

Julie McAlindon of PolyOne Corp. speaks about the future of thermoforming and the integration of Spartech Corp.    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

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

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events