Plastics News staff reporter Frank Esposito covered the following items at SAE 2000, held March 6-9 in Detroit. Mark IV expanding manifold production
Swedish automotive systems supplier Mark IV Automotive will open its seventh nylon air-intake manifold production cell at its Montreal plant in June.
The company has added 5 new production cells since opening the Montreal site in August 1999.
The plant already is shipping products to Ford and has secured additional manifold and integrated air-fuel module work on several Ford models for 2000 and 2001, according to Tom Curry, vice president of Mark IV's air-intake systems business unit.
Longer term, Mark IV is considering making automotive water pumps from thermoset plastics in Montreal. The company currently produces such parts at a plant in France.
GE moving Geloy alloy into luggage racks
GE Plastics is working to expand its Geloy-brand acrylic styrene acrylonitrile/polycarbonate alloy into luggage racks and cargo bins on the 2001 and 2002 model Nissan Frontier and Pathfinder.
Geloy ASA/PC first made inroads in luggage racks on the 1999 Nissan Xterra sport utility vehicle, where the material offered savings of 61 percent over painted nylon, GE account manager Michael Andriuli said.
Nissan also was pleased with the 20 percent weight reduction Geloy provides in the Frontier and Pathfinder parts, according to Nissan body systems design engineer Robert Blanchard.
The Frontier and Pathfinder luggage racks are injection molded in Ann Arbor, Mich., assembled in Franklin, Ga., and installed on Nissan vehicles in Smyrna, Tenn.
Endura Plastics adds more 2-shot molding
Endura Plastics Inc. of Kirtland, Ohio, plans to add more two-shot injection molding capacity in 2001 and may add more insert molding machinery as well.
The decision to do one or both of the projects will depend on customer demand, according to Robert Murch, Endura's vice president of sales and marketing.
Endura, which operates 21 presses in Kirtland, installed its first two-shot molding system in 1998 and currently uses the technology to mold glass-filled nylon parts for automotive computer systems and belt tensioning systems. Two-shot work accounts for more than 5 percent of Endura's $8 million annual sales total.
The two-shot system also has helped Endura pick up work in other industries, such as a contract for a piece made with acetal and thermoplastic vulcanizates for a major appliance maker, Murch said.
Rehau Inc. making new Mercedes parts
Rehau Inc., a German extruder and injection molder with North American headquarters in Leesburg, Va., is producing four new parts for the 2000 Mercedes ML 55 at its Cullman, Ala., plant.
With the addition of a cowl assembly, accelerator pedal assembly, body side moldings and lift-gate claddings, Rehau now produces 15 separate parts for the Mercedes M class.
Rehau, based in Rehau, Germany, has worked with Mercedes for years in Europe. The companies partnered in North America in 1997 when Rehau added injection molding capacity in Cullman to service the Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., said Rehau automotive group manager Scott Emery.
Rehau's Cullman plant is 90 minutes away from Mercedes' Tuscaloosa plant.
The new Mercedes parts are made of polycarbonate/ABS, PC/polybutylene terephthalate and other engineering resins and alloys.