INDIANAPOLIS - The ANTEC '96 Super Session will be repeated in 1997 at the Toronto conference, said John Griep, co-chairman of the May 10 event and retired founder of Portage Casting & Mold Inc. of Portage, Wis. Speakers from the transportation and appliance industries at the Indianapolis session describ-ed their reliance on plastics for product support while offering practical advice on how to do business with them. In the case of Boeing Aircraft of Seattle, potential suppliers were warned that it ``takes years'' to get on the company's qualified processor list.
John Moser, a research technologist with Boeing Operations Technology, and Steve Fabre, a Boeing Materials Technology specialist, described a process involving specifications established both by Boeing and the FAA that typically runs two to five years for vendors.
They noted that Boeing does not accept recycled thermoplastic parts and said future opportunities for thermoplastics used at the aircraft manufacturer largely depend on improved fire safety and lighter weight.
Weight and design were major themes of session presentations. Ford Motor Co. is deeply involved in a program with Chrysler Corp., General Motors Corp. and the federal government that is known as the ``Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles.'' Robert Mull, Ford's director of the program, said the intent of the undertaking is to reduce vehicle energy demand by 50 percent.
``We have to have a huge weight reduction to meet our goals,'' Mull said.
The prototype vehicle, for which a production model weighing 1,960 pounds is due in 2004, is expected to achieve a threefold increase in fuel efficiency and be 80 percent recyclable.
Charlene Thoman, a division materials manager for Kenworth Truck Co., and V.K. Sharma, director of component technology and technical services for Navistar In-ternational Transportation Corp., said there is increased composite use in heavy-duty trucks. Thoman said Kenworth's introduction this month of its new, T2000 Class 8 vehicle, a category of truck weighing 33,000 pounds or more, represents the most composite use of any Kenworth product, including the front firewall, lower bumper portion and roof. In 1997, the vehicle's suspension will feature composite springs.
``Plastics play a very important role,'' said Navistar's Sharma. ``We need processes for large-part molding. We need more work on low-pressure SMC.'' The trend in Class-8 truck construction is toward modular designs, automotive styling, more quiet interiors and increased cab storage, according to Sharma.
Leo Koenig, a thermoforming unit sales representative at Renton, Wash.-based Furon Co., went to Indianapolis specifically for the Super Session.
``We're now looking at getting into the heavy-duty truck market,'' he said, noting the presentations were ``absolutely of use'' to him. ``They show the direction the transportation market is heading,'' Koenig said.