Continental Structural Plastics Wins JEC Innovation Award
Multi-material decklid concept demonstrates weight savings, reduced cycle times
Auburn Hills, Michigan – January 20, 2016 — Continental Structural Plastics (CSP), the world leader in vehicle lightweighting technologies, today announced that it has received the JEC World 2016 Innovation Award in the Automotive Exterior Parts category for its multi-material decklid concept. This decklid, featuring a TCA Ultra Lite™ outer and a carbon fiber resin transfer molded (RTM) inner, weighs just 12.11 lbs. (5.5 kg.), a 13 percent weight savings over a similar decklid made
Created in 1998, the JEC World Innovation Awards identify, promote and reward the most innovate composite solutions in the world. The selection criteria include technical excellence, exemplarity of the chain of partners, market potential and originality.
The winning decklid concept was collaborated by the CSP R&D teams in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and Pouance, France, with support from partners at Owens Corning, Compose Tooling Expert, Altair Engineering, PPE, Hexion and Brandolph. It was developed as part of a study to compare the weight of decklids made from steel or aluminum versus a multi-material approach. Also key was reducing the cycle time associated with the use of carbon fiber.
“We continue to prove that when you’re willing to think outside the box, the lightweighting possibilities with composites and carbon fiber can be endless,” said CSP Chairman and CEO Frank Macher. “Our engineering and R&D teams continue to push the envelope, reaffirming that CSP is the world leader in lightweighting technologies.”
Reducing Carbon Fiber Cycle Times
The carbon fiber RTM structural inner component represents a number of breakthroughs in the use of recycled carbon fiber materials for cost-effective mass production applications. Using preformed carbon fiber mats infused with a Hexion fast-cure, epoxy-based resin played a key role in CSP being able to successfully reduce the cycle time associated with high carbon fiber content RTM. From injection time to cure to completion, the total cycle time for this component is 2.5 to 3 minutes.
In addition, the infusion tool used to create functional prototypes was developed and produced using 3D printing. The entire process can be completed in 2-3 weeks. This is significant because it will enable CSP to take design data and provide an OEM with a functional prototype part in a significantly reduced timeframe than what is currently customary. Finally, to further reduce costs and control quality, CSP is developing a process to manufacture its own carbon fiber mat using various carbon fiber content.
“This decklid is the result of CSP’s on-going effort to work with OEM and supplier partners to achieve even greater weight savings with cost-competitive materials,” said Philippe Bonte, president of CSP’s European operations. “This comes on the heels of CSP’s successful launch of TCA Ultra Lite, currently used for 21 body panel assemblies on the Chevrolet C7 Corvette.”
TCA Ultra Lite = Lighter, Stronger Parts
Introduced by CSP in 2014, and currently in production on the 2016 Chevrolet C7 Corvette, TCA Ultra Lite is a revolutionary, 1.2 specific gravity material that offers as much as a 40 percent weight savings over standard density composite materials. It provides automakers an opportunity to achieve a Class A finish with a material that is E-coat oven capable, and resistant to corrosion, dents and dings. In addition, TCA Ultra Lite provides the benefits that come with using a composite over a metal, including significantly reduced tooling costs (50 percent or more, depending on production volumes) and the ability to achieve unique design cues such as deep draws that can’t be achieved with a stamped metal.
In late 2015, CSP received the CAMX Unsurpassed Innovation Award and the SPE Grand Award for this ground-breaking material technology.
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About Continental Structural Plastics
For more than 40 years, Continental Structural Plastics has provided leading-edge technologies in lightweight materials and composite solutions for the automotive, heavy truck, HVAC and construction industries. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, CSP provides full-service engineering support, and holds more than 50 patents covering materials development and manufacturing processes in composite materials formulation, design and manufacturing technologies. For more information, visit www.cspplastics.com.