The following briefs were gathered by Plastics News staff reporter Frank Esposito at SAE '98, held February 23-26 in Detroit.
GE expects Noryl GTX sales increase in '98
GE Plastics expects sales of conductive grades of its Noryl GTX-brand polyphenylene oxide/nylon alloys to increase three-or fourfold in 1998, an industry manager said.
GE of Pittsfield, Mass., marketed 1 million pounds of the conductive-grade PPO/nylon alloys in 1997, its first year of commercialization. That total should reach 3 million to 4 million pounds this year, according to industry manager Venkatakrishnan Umamaheswaran.
The product, which is modified with tiny graphite fibriles, has found a home in side-mirror housings on Ford's 1998 Taurus and Mercury Sable lines.
Conductive grades allow the thermoplastic to be used for the first time in electrostatic painting, in which the part attracts the paint. The graphite additives eliminate the need for priming, which was both expensive and time-consuming, said Umamaheswaran, who is based at GE's automotive center in Southfield, Mich.
The grades, produced at GE's Selkirk, N.Y., facility, also reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds emitted during painting by eliminating the primer step and also by using the more-efficient electrostatic process, according to the company.
``It's a case where it's win-win-win,'' Umamaheswaran said. ``It's low-cost for GE, it's environmentally conscious, and it gives the molder higher paint efficiency.''
AlliedSignal features nylon 12 fuel filters
AlliedSignal Inc. of Morristown, N.J., spotlighted several plastics-related automotive parts this year.
Fuel filters made of conductive grades of fiber-filled nylon 12 resins are intended to displace stainless steel by offering a ground path that will allow any static to discharge.
The filters currently are used in Chrysler and General Motors minivans and will be used in Jeep models for 1999, according to Gordon Jones, advanced technology director for AlliedSignal's filter and spark plugs division in Perrysburg, Ohio.
Air-intake filters made of compounded polypropylene are featured in the 1998 Honda Accord.
``Polypropylene is becoming the right product for the majority of noncritical applications,'' Jones said. ``It's the least-expensive material for a lot of air-induction systems and places where you don't need chemical resistance.''
AlliedSignal also is developing a reusable glass-filled nylon housing for oil filters, which are dominated by metal. Jones said such materials already are used in Europe, and AlliedSignal wants to introduce them in the United States.
``The housing would be a permanent part of the vehicle,'' Jones said. ``Just the filter paper would be removed, so there's no metal in the waste stream.''