One of the advantages of ThermoPlate is weight savings, which increases fuel efficiency.
"We save about 40-60 percent weight," Peter said. "We also offer cost savings relative to stainless steel, about 5-10 percent."
Another benefit is design flexibility.
"Studio is constantly going to the engineering team, saying, 'I want to design this.' But with angles and drafts and everything like that, sometimes it's hard for engineering to do it, but we can design a lot more geometries in an injection mold than you can stamp out of metal," Peter said.
Other advantages include reduced number of parts and complexity as well as aesthetic harmonization of the tailpipe cover and the rest of the vehicle.
"Every single chrome-plated part of the vehicle is chrome-plated ABS or PC/ABS, and you have this one decorative component made of stainless steel that doesn't match," Peter said. "But because we can use some of the exact same process to do with ABS, now not only do we have a perfect match with surrounding trim, but we can offer all the other technologies we have today — the dark chromes, the satin chromes, the bright chromes, the colored chromes — and now we have an infinite range of things we can offer to our customers as they're seeing the industry, [and] the customers [are] wanting to personalize their vehicles more."
Peter said ThermoPlate is considered "fully validated technology." Outside of the automotive industry, it is being considered in other applications.
? Aesthetic harmony: ThermoPlate uses the same material and processes as other components near it, which means it will be a perfect match and offer more options for customers.
? Design flexibility: The injection molding process offers more options in terms of "designing a lot more geometries," compared with stamping metal, Peter said.
? Weight savings: Peter said ThermoPlate saves about 40-60 percent in weight. It also offers between 5-10 percent cost savings relative to stainless steel.
Mark Peter, materials innovation engineer at SRG Global Inc., outlined ThermoPlate's benefits at the Plastics and Rubber in Automotive conference on Jan. 15 in Novi, Mich.
SRG Global's thermoplate product
The automotive supplier has developed ThermoPlate, a material that can be used to replace metal.