Plastics News reporter Rhoda Miel gathered these items during the Auto Interiors Show held May 15-17 in Detroit.
LDM energy absorbers move inside vehicle
LDM Technologies Inc. is moving its family of energy absorbers inside the car.
The company, which launched an injection molded line of exterior vehicle energy absorbers last year, now is set to begin production of an interior line of pillars, door panels, headliners and knee bolsters.
``It performs as well or better than federal and customer standards,'' said Phil Fioravante, director of marketing and strategic planning for Auburn Hills, Mich.-based LDM. He was interviewed during the Auto Interiors Show, held May 15-17 in Detroit.
The system, called Controlled Energy Management - or CEM - consists of a bed of injection molded cones that serve as a barrier in crashes, protecting the auto body from objects outside the car and occupants' heads inside it. Developed by LDM and its technology partner, Concept Analysis Corp. of Plymouth, Mich., the cones' thickness can be altered to provide either additional strength or flexibility where needed.
That means LDM can design an absorber around even a complex curving design, without altering the sweep of an interior panel or giving up performance, Fioravante said. On a headliner, that could mean providing a protection system that flows around lights, overhead storage bins and assist handles.
The absorber can be molded from polypropylene, high density polyethylene or post-consumer PET.
New federal standards to provide extra head-impact protection inside vehicles have created a new market for energy absorbers in the passenger compartment. In response, suppliers have introduced products made of materials ranging from plastic cones to expanded polystyrene foam.
The CEM exterior - dubbed CEM-E by LDM - debuted on a Ford Motor Co. bumper project last year. The CEM-I interior program is set to begin production this year for a 2002-model vehicle, he said.
Lear acoustic barrier receives show award
Lear Corp.'s SonoTec EP, an automotive acoustic barrier system made from recycled post-consumer scrap, has received first-place honors from the Auto Interiors 2001 Design and Technology awards, presented during the Auto Interiors Show in Detroit.
The system, with as much as 65 percent of its content from nylon carpeting, is used as a dashboard insulator by General Motors Corp. in Saturn vehicles.
Southfield, Mich.-based Lear designed SonoTec to provide sound-quality controls at a lower weight while also using recycled materials, said Barry Wyerman, director of advanced engineering, flooring and acoustics.
``This product was developed to meet both lower weight and recycling initiatives for automotive [acoustic] components and was rapidly implemented with a team effort between Lear's engineering and manufacturing groups,'' he said.
M300 Santoprene now can be colored
Advanced Elastomer Systems is expanding its line of thermoplastics for automotive interiors with a colorable version of its M300 Santoprene material.
The Fairlawn, Ohio-based company rolled out a black version of its M300 last year, promoting it for use in a variety of small applications, such as cup holders and coin trays.
The new line introduced during the Auto Interiors Show May 15-17 in Detroit is the same nonglossy, soft-touch material but now colorable to automakers' specifications.
``People want more interior luxury,'' said Zev Gurion, vice president, automotive, for AES. ``A lot of customers liked the texture, the feel of [the material]. What we've got today has all the attributes they're looking for, and you can color match it.''
The thermoplastic vulcanizate is part of the growing market of alternatives to PVC made available as carmakers move away from using vinyl in auto interiors.