Process, Assembly & Enabling Technologies Category Finalists Announced for 2016 #SPEInnovationAwards Competition


The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE®) today announced the Process, Assembly & Enabling Technologies Category finalists for its 46th-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Competition, the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries. Nominations were first subjected to a pre-qualification review and then were presented before a panel of industry experts on September 29-30, 2016. That panel sent forward the most innovative nominations (category finalists) to the Blue Ribbon judging round, which was held October 10, 2016. Category and Grand Award winners selected during the Blue Ribbon judging round will be announced on the evening of November 9, 2016 during the 46th SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Gala.



Zipper Clip

OEM Make & Model: 2017 General Motors Co. Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedan

Tier Supplier/Processor: 3 Dimensional Services Group

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: Celanese Corp. / 3 Dimensional Services Group

Material / Process:  Celcon M90 POM / injection molding

Description: The zipper clip is a plastic solution that gives the holding benefits of a stud-and-nut combination while reducing production limitations. Ideal for use where a nut is desired but not feasible, this is the first stud insert with 4 ratcheting control features and a self-centering 2-way locator that holds over 120 lb/54.43 kg of weight while it requires low ergonomic effort (5.11 lb/2.32 kg) for assembly. The design reduces spring back as well as weight and cost and eliminates the need for assembly equipment as well as an isolator, since it protects the stud from corrosion.

Hot-Gas Welded Thermostat Housing Assembly

OEM Make & Model: 2017 Ford Motor Co. 3.5L V6 Cyclone TiVCT GTDI engines

Tier Supplier/Processor: Plastic Tec – Bocar Group

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: DuPont Automotive / Schweiger GmbH & Co. KG

Material / Process:  Zytel HTN HTN51G35HSLR BK420 PPA / injection molding & hot gas welding

Description:   Hot-gas welding joins both halves of this 35% GR-PPA thermostat housing assembly. The part has a small welding-flange footprint but high weld strength because there is no fiber/material degradation during the joining process. In fact, it is the only welding process that permits bridging of glass across the joint. The weld distance is held within 0.1 mm, enabling parts to package into very limited spaces with tight tolerances. Since the part is not touched during welding, there is no sticking. Versus previous aluminum solutions, the PPA assembly is 30% lighter and 40% less costly.

Two-Shot Map Lamp Lens

OEM Make & Model: 2017 Ford Motor Co. Lincoln Continental luxury sedan

Tier Supplier/Processor:  Flex Auto (Flextronics)

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: SABIC / Flex Auto (Flextronics)

Material / Process:  Lexan 143R HFD1830 PC / 2-shot injection molding

Description:  A redesigned capacitive touch lens produced via 2-shot molding eliminates molding defects while maintaining an ideal bonding surface and clear aperture for best light intensity. Eliminating a second tool, the Fresnel pattern is molded into the core of the first shot, which becomes the cavity of the second shot as the latter is layered over the former, keeping both outer surfaces smooth. Using 2 grades of PC with a 40o difference in heat-deflection temperature (HDT) eliminates the problem of the second shot melting the first during overmolding. Eliminating a tool reduced costs 25%.

Robotic Laser Cutting and Welding of TPO Fascia

OEM Make & Model: 2017 General Motors Co. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 sports car

Tier Supplier/Processor: Magna Exteriors, Inc. / Magna Exterior – DexSys

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: LyondellBasell / Jenoptik AG

Material / Process:  Hifax TYC1168X TPO / injection molding

Description:  A hydraulic punch and sonic welding operation was replaced by robotic laser cutting and welding of a Class A exterior fascia. Unlike other welding processes, it is not necessary to thicken wallstock in weld areas to prevent readthrough with robotic laser welding of brackets on the backside of the part, and that reduces weight slightly. It also eliminates the need for contoured horns and punches. Clean cuts can be made in 1 sec on the painted side of the part. The dual-function process provides greater flexibility between programs and reduces floor space and tooling costs.

Assisted Positive-Locking Junction Box

OEM Make & Model: 2016 General Motors Co. Chevrolet Camaro sports cars

Tier Supplier/Processor: Yazaki North America Inc.

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: DuPont Automotive / Yazaki North America Inc.

Material / Process:  Multiple / Multiple

Description:  This tool-less, single-lever, self-locking underhood bussed electrical center (UBEC) guarantees proper connections for 4 connectors from 4 different wire harnesses using 1 hand and low assembly effort. There is no need to re-orient the UBEC to install mating connectors during OEM assembly. The result is a robust, high-circuit-capacity design that s ergonomically friendly to assembly-line workers. Additional benefits are a 7% weight savings, 8% additional spare electrical content, 10% reduction in overall footprint, better water-ingress protection, and 30% less assembly time.


Interested in attending this year’s event?  There is still time to buy individual tickets or tables of 10 seats. Register here.

For more information, see http://speautomotive.com/inno and http://speautomotive.com/awa .

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