Solvay SA, Renault Trucks and its partners have won the 2016 JEC Innovation Award for Structural Parts in Automotive using a thermoplastic composite material.
The new high performance composite material was based on Solvay's nylon-based Evolite thermoplastic resin reinforced with continuous glass fiber.
The module weighs 25 percent less than a similar metal model, while the number of parts used to assemble was cut in half, thanks to the pooling of the partners' innovations in design, materials and manufacturing.
Other companies working on the project were thermoformer HBW-Gubesch Kunststoff-Engineering GmbH of Nürmburg, Germany; Sika AG of Baar, Switzerland; and Böllhoff Group of La Ravoire, France.
The award ceremony took place at JEC World, the largest international convention of composites professionals, on March 8 in Paris.
In less than four years, Solvay and Renault Trucks designed, manufactured and validated the new composite module. Assembled on a Renault truck, it was tested on front crash, vibration and durability, showing it could meet the industry's strictest safety requirements.
“Solvay is very proud that its thermoplastic composites material has withstood the harsh testing conditions of the truck industry, proving the excellent performance of the Evolite-based composite and increasing the role these composites can play in reducing CO2 emissions,” said Nicolas Cudre-Mauroux, Solvay's head of corporate research innovation.