Plastics News staff reporter Rhoda Miel wrote the following items from the Society of Automotive Engineers 2005 World Congress, held April 11-14 in Detroit.
Atlas speed-test unit shortens cycle time
Testing equipment maker Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC has developed a fourth generation of its outdoor accelerated test equipment for use at its Florida and Arizona facilities.
The Chicago-based company's EMMAQUA system to speed testing of exterior plastic trim and other automotive components uses specialty mirrors to enhance natural sunlight. The concentrated light allows companies to get three years' worth of weathering performance during a three to four month period, said Laurence Bond, global sales manager of the weathering services group.
Improvements to the system now allow the company greater control of the temperature within the test area by manipulating the mirrors and a blower system, allowing even faster tests.
``The purpose of all these are to be able to bring a shorter test cycle of time,'' Bond said.
The improved schedule can help companies that want to bring new materials to market faster, he said
Specialty adds press to Chicago division
Specialty Manufacturers Inc. has added a new press to its Apollo Plastics division in Chicago to keep up with new automotive business.
The 400-ton press will back new business in interior trim, said David Lucas, co-owner of the Indianapolis-based injection molder.
Tokyo's Sekisui seeks N. America expansion
Japan's Sekisui Chemical Co. Ltd. is raising its profile in North America, emphasizing its polymer interlayer for automotive glass and its Voltek polyproylene foam.
Tokyo-based Sekisiu's five divisions have production plants in Europe and Japan, said Terry Yoshioka, director of the company's automotive business planning group. North America would make a logical region for future expansion.
Automotive buyers may be familiar with the company's brand name products, he said, but not the overall Sekisui name.
The firm's polyvinyl butyral inner layer, marketed under the S-Lec name, is used in windshields and other automotive and architectural glass. The company recently introduced a new version of the PVB layer that supplies improvements in both solar protection and sound protection. The company previously could provide only one or the other through the inner layer, Yoshioka said.
Voltek is used in auto interior applications to supply a soft surface to instrument panels and other modules.
Canada firms team up for suspension system
Polymer Technologies Inc. has teamed with fellow Canadian company Mechworks Systems Inc. to develop a new active-stability-control system for the automotive industry.
Polymer Technologies is based in Cambridge, Ontario, and Mechworks Systems is in Waterloo, Ontario.
The companies' system uses a series of sensors encased in a plastic suspension component to react to road changes and smooth the vehicle ride.
The cooperative agreement calls for Polymer to supply financing to help speed the part to market, while also giving the molder access to Mechworks' technology.
Future sales also would use Polymer Technologies' manufacturing operations.