During the four years it spent reorganizing itself under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, automotive supply giant Delphi Corp. shed a lot of its most familiar products.
That included its major plastics interiors unit, the now independent Inteva Products LLC.
But the Troy, Mich.-based company that emerged under new ownership in October is still using plastics extensively, especially in one of its core business areas electronics and connections.
We have the right products now and we're in the right spaces, said CEO Rodney O'Neal at an April 14 news conference during the Society of Automotive Engineers' 2010 World Congress in Detroit.
Even areas outside the electronic architecture and connections business use plastics areas like the ducts for heating and air-conditioning, powertrain components and housings on radar sensors, which improve safety while parking or backing out of a driveway.
Delphi's Packard Electrical and Electronic Architecture division based in Streetsboro, Ohio, remains one of its biggest molding operations, and one that will see increased emphasis in hybrid and electric vehicles, the company said.
Plastics are used throughout the orange wiring and connectors housing high-voltage cables. Plastics are used on the handles that electric-car drivers will use to plug into their home's electric system to charge the car's batteries. The Delphi Packard operations in Warren, Ohio, are turning out co-extruded housings for aluminum wiring designed as a lightweight replacement for standard copper.
The technology is changing so dramatically, in ways that people don't even see, like the cable size, said Jim Spencer, president of Delphi Packard.
The company is making the direct-current-to-direct-current power converters for the future electric car for Santa Monica, Calif.-based Coda Automotive, and also is developing high-voltage wiring harnesses, power-distribution boxes and plugs, and safety handles for high-voltage systems.
In standard vehicles, Delphi recently started insert molding specialty multimedia ports where car drivers can plug in music players and portable electronics via an auxiliary cable, USB port or secure digital card readers.
Copyright 2010 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.