2018 Automotive Innovation Awards Hall of Fame

By on November 18, 2018 in IN THE NEWS, MATERIAL MATTERS

The first injection-molded thermoplastic (PC/PBT) rear energy absorber for a vehicle bumper system, used on the 2003 Honda Element compact crossover SUV, was named the 2018 Automotive Innovation Awards Hall of Fame winner by the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE®).

The energy absorber, made with XENOY™ Polycarbonate/Polybutylene Terephthalate (PC/PBT) resin from SABIC (then known as GE Plastics), replaced expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam energy absorbers in less package space at lower cost with better damageability performance.

To be considered for a Hall of Fame Award, an automotive plastic or composite component must have been in continuous service in some form for at least 15 years and broadly adopted in the automotive industry. This application certainly qualifies as more than 80 million pounds of XENOY injection-molded energy absorbers have been used on multiple vehicles. Energy absorber technology with XENOY resin set the precedent for many other industry-first applications. This resin was initially recognized in 2004 when the Ford Motor Company won the SPE Hall of Fame Award for the 1984 Escort bumper developed by Ford Milan (Visteon). The material was recognized again in 2005 when Suzuki Motor Corporation won an SPE Automotive Innovation Award in the safety category for the first pedestrian-protection energy absorber on the 2005 Swift. Injection-molded energy absorber technology offers improved styling freedom and functional integration as 15-mm less packaging space is required as compared to the EPP foam used previously. This is because the resin energy-absorber efficiency enables smaller offsets (approximately 20 to 30 percent reduction at equal load), resulting in a 20-percent weight savings.