AUBURN HILLS, MICH. (June 7, 10:55 a.m. ET) — TI Automotive is expanding the competition for plastic fuel filler pipes to replace steel pipes with a new plant in the Czech Republic dedicated to blow molded pipe production.
Most car fuel filler pipes now in use are steel, but TI has launched production of a plastic pipe that offers automakers more flexibility in design and packaging along with reduced weight in a pipe that meets or beats a steel pipe's emission performance, said spokesman Frank Buscemi in a June 7 telephone interview.
TI has not listed specifics, but in a news release, Hans Dieltjens, executive vice president for fuel tank systems, said the pipes offer “significant reduction in product weight.” Weight savings are a big target for global automakers who want to improve fuel efficiency.
The Auburn Hills-based company has molded the seamless pipes in small numbers at other plants, but the new 63,700-square-foot plant in Liberec is its first dedicated to fuel filler pipes, with the capacity to produce 1.1 million pipes annually.
Liberec has two production lines in place now making pipes for Volkswagen AG and its Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda brands, and there is space for two more blow molding lines as sales increase, the company said. It also will assemble tank systems for Skoda, Toyota, Citroen and Peugeot. It will have 85 employees when it reaches full production capacity.
The facility is TI's fourth in the Czech Republic. It also blow molds fuel tanks in Jablonec nad Nisou – where it also has aluminum extrusion for heating and air conditioning components – and produces tubes in Mlada Boleslav.