Ford Motor Co.'s breakthrough use of plastics in bumpers has brought it a Hall of Fame honor from the Society of Plastics Engineers' Automotive Division.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker launched the first injection molded energy management system for a bumper on its Escort Lynx in 1984, SPE members noted during their annual awards event Nov. 10 in Livonia, Mich. More than 20 different vehicles now use an injection molded system.
The Hall of Fame award notes the use of plastics on a vehicle for at least 10 continuous years, and one that made an impact toward additional applications of polymers.
Other award winners for new plastics uses included:
* DaimlerChrysler AG's Dodge Durango and Dakota for a structural mirror bracket in the chassis and hardware division. The component, using a DuPont glass- reinforced polyester and molded by Mayco Plastics Inc., replaced a steel bracket assembly and is capable of withstanding the high temperatures of a rustproofing process.
* General Motors Corp.'s GMT 800 and 900 light trucks for environmental applications. Robert Bosch Corp. molds the engine's fan and shroud module using a nylon recycled by Wellman Inc. from carpeting.
* Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Mustang was honored for material applications for its use of a multishot glass-filled polyamide and polyamide bondable thermoplastic vulcanizate for the exterior edge trim on the convertible. Cooper-Standard Automotive supplies the system, using a raw material provided by A. Schulman Inc. and Zeon Chemicals LP.
* The Mustang also claimed the process/assembly/enabling technologies honor for a lower part of an instrument panel made with molded-in-color polypropylene, providing a two-tone appearance without the need for paint. Visteon Corp. molds the panel using material supplied by Advanced Composites Inc.
* Cequent Towing, part of TriMas Corp., received SPE's first award for performance and customization for its towing tray produced by Composite Technologies through a gas-assist compression molding system.
* DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor-trailer truck received the powertrain award for its use of a thermoplastic oil- pan module. Germany's KTSN injection molds the part using a BASF AG Ultramid resin. The unit comes in at half the cost of a die- cast aluminum oil pan, while also decreasing the engine's oil-use demand.