Plastics News reporter Frank Esposito gathered these items at the SAE 2001 World Congress, held March 5-8 in Detroit.
Mach-6 nylon aims for 1 million pounds
Custom Resins Inc., a Wayne, N.J.-based nylon maker, expects to sell about 1 million pounds of its Mach 6-brand nylon 6 resin in 2001.
Mach 6 is aimed at "superhigh-speed injection molding" and has low viscosity for faster flow, according to national sales manager Pat Delaney. The highly nucleated material, which is produced at Custom's Henderson, Ky., plant, can improve cycle times by as much as 20 percent, Delaney said.
DuPont survey cites cost as top hurdle
Cost reduction again topped the list of major design and engineering challenges in DuPont Automotive's annual survey of engineers attending SAE.
Of the engineers polled, 36 percent ranked cost reduction first, a drop from 50 percent in 2000.
The polling group also listed low cost/price as the primary criterion automakers seek in suppliers, with 69 percent naming that attribute. Second place went to quality, which was cited by 44 percent.
Ohio firm gives Jeeps a cast-metal look
Michael Day Enterprises Inc. of Wadsworth, Ohio, has placed a metallic-finish mineral- and glass-filled nylon 6 compound in 2002 DaimlerChrysler Jeeps for the European market.
"The cast-metal look differs from the glossy metallic finish, but there's no drop-off in performance," said John Targett, the firm's vice president of technical marketing.
TRW Inc. also is using a Michael Day copolymer based on nylon 6 and 6/6 in park and neutral safety switches on several 2002 model-year vehicles. The copolymer can withstand temperatures as high as 320§ F.
Michael Day posted sales of $37 million in 2000, with 45-50 percent of that total coming from the automotive market.
Wilden making parts for Briggs & Stratton
Wilden Plastics USA, an injection molder in Peachtree City, Ga., is producing intake manifolds made of glass-filled nylon 6 for small engines made by lawnmower maker Briggs & Stratton.
Wilden started making the parts in Peachtree City late last year and plans to begin production of manifolds for smaller Briggs & Stratton engines later in 2001, according to industrial market engineering manager Ron Bagley.
Wilden's German parent also recently introduced an ABS housing for brake systems on several European vehicles. The firm hopes to introduce the housings, made of fiber-filled polybutylene terephthalate, to the North American market as early as 2004.
Wilden posted U.S. sales of $12 million in 2000 and expects to reach $13 million this year.
Compounder BMC offers SMC material
Bulk Molding Compounds Inc., a thermoset compounder in West Chicago, Ill., launched its first sheet molding compound product earlier this year.
The vinyl ester-based material is being toll compounded for BMC at Budd Plastics' plant in Van Wert, Ohio, and is being used in engine covers on General Motors Corp.'s new in-line engine series.
The SMC material is in some 2001 models but will be used in higher volumes in 2002, including engine covers for sport utility vehicles used by the U.S. Army, said Joe Carfora, BMC's vice president of business development.
Tier 1 supplier tests biodegradable resin
Haas GmbH & Co. Kunststoff KG is hoping to plant its Granubi-brand biodegradable resin in the North American auto market.
The Reichenschwand, Germany-based firm developed Granubi in 1995. The material is based on natural feedstocks including corn starch, potatoes, sugar cane, cotton, hay, wheat and rye.
Haas is testing Granubi with a North American Tier 1 supplier for a door-panel application, said Thomas Roth, sales and marketing managing director. A German automaker also is testing the material for use in control knobs.
Haas — whose primary business is injection molding foamed polyurethane parts at plants in Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Mexico — does not produce Granubi itself, but uses toll compounders.
Granubi has been used in products ranging from ammunition cartridges used in war games by the German army to burial urns in Switzerland, where it replaced nondegrading stone urns.