TI Automotive is heating up the competition for plastic fuel filler pipes that replace steel with a new Czech Republic plant dedicated to blow molded pipe production.
Most fuel filler pipes in cars are steel, but TI has launched production of a plastic pipe that offers more design and packaging flexibility and reduced weight, spokesman Frank Buscemi June 7 by phone. He said the pipe meets a steel pipe's emission performance.
In a news release, Hans Dieltjens, TI executive vice president for fuel-tank systems, said the pipes offer “significant reduction in product weight,” a big target in improving fuel efficiency.
The Auburn Hills-based firm 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 capacity to produce 1.1 million annually.
Liberec has two blow molding lines making pipes for Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda brands, and can accommodate two more lines, as sales increase. It also will assemble tank systems for Skoda, Toyota, Citroën and Peugeot.
The plant, TI's fourth in the Czech Republic, will employ 85 when it reaches full production capacity. TI also blow molds fuel tanks in Jablonec nad Nisou.