Weight saving is a big concern for the automotive industry. In the year 2020 the level of CO2 emissions from the European automobile industry must come in line with strict new regulations. It is projected that by 2020 18% of a cars total weight will be comprised of plastic. To put this figure in perspective this would be a 14% increase since 2000. Thermoplastic materials have had a large role in making things more lightweight in the automotive industry.
Many metal components have been replaced by injection moulded thermoplastics that are every bit as durable as their metal counterparts. However, as effective as these thermoplastic materials are they are reaching their limits of capability. The next step is fibre-reinforcement of injection moulded thermoplastics. This will result in a composite plastic. This is a huge area of development in the plastic industry.
As the drive continues for more eco-friendly automobiles an opportunity exists for plastics companies like APL to step up and deliver cost effective, durable and high quality products and services, moving alongside and taking full advantage of new advances in the field of thermoplastic injection moulding.
To meet these demands the plastics industry must look at increasing the recyclability of plastics. Steel is still attractive to many automobile manufactures as it is cheaper than plastics and its price is not volatile as it is not linked to oil prices. It is also easier to recycle than plastics because different types and grades of plastics require different recycling processes.
The plastics industry has found a way to lessen the bio-footprint of plastics, and that is by using bioplastics which are derived from agricultural products such as starch from potatoes, beet or sugar-cane, for example. This will also lessen plastics’ dependency on oil. Although bioplastics still only account for 1% of all plastics produced, the volume produced is growing at a massive rate.
Reinforced plastic parts offer a wide range of advantages over steel – they are usually 25-35% lighter than steel parts of the same strength – this would greatly reduce vehicle weight. Parts made with reinforced plastic have far greater resistance to corrosion than steel. In terms of design they offer more variety and complexity. Damage resistance is greater than steel or aluminium. There is also less vibration with reinforced plastics. Clearly, the benefits of this are manifold. Fuel consumption is far less if cars are composed of more plastic elements as they are more lightweight. Plastics also contribute to extending a car’s life as they are more durable and are less susceptible to wear and tear and also corrosion. Cars with more plastic parts also have less vibration and this makes driving more relaxing.
At Automatic Plastics we do our very best to offer quality plastic parts across a wide range of industries. Contact APL regarding your injection moulding needs we’re very happy to talk with you regarding your requirements and can offer you a highly competitive quote.