Companies don't become top performing automotive suppliers without a commitment to ongoing innovation and quality. For the past 22 years, The Materials Group has thrived on the challenge of helping our customers make better parts, whether to achieve costs savings, production efficiencies, delivering on sustainability goals or improved performance.
Once in a while, we get to achieve all four at the same time – and earn industry recognition for the accomplishment.
On Nov. 10, the Society of Plastics Engineers' Automotive Division recognized TMG at its 50th Annual Automotive Innovation Awards & Gala in Livonia, Mich., for our collaboration with Ford Motor Co. on a cowl vent grille for the 2020 Ford F-150 truck.
First Class A Exterior Mold-in-Color Application Using Recycled PP
The effort was acknowledged for creating the first Class A exterior auto part using low-density glass microspheres and polypropylene resin recycled from post-industrial carpet scrap. The recycled polypropylene plastic blend (Optipro CP47GB) and the resulting part were developed over a two-year period by the TMG engineering team in collaboration with the folks at Ford.
The use of Optipro CP47GB PP resin resulted in a number of benefits:
- Eliminated the need for secondary operations to correct cosmetic imperfections with a mold-in-color material that enabled the part to meet various requirements for weatherability, surface appearance and scratch resistance;
- Reduced part weight by 0.50 lb. helping to achieve mass targets leading towards improved fuel economy;
- Provided a specially engineered material to be used as a drop-in application to eliminate the time and costs for new tooling;
- Contributed to potential landfill avoidance of 1.5 million pounds of scrap carpet on an annual basis;
- Reduced carbon emissions by 83% through the use of recycled, rather than virgin, polypropylene.
Ford also found production benefits from using this glass-filled recycled polypropylene plastic vs. talc-filled prime PP:
- 16% density reduction (0.89 g/cc vs 1.06 g/cc)
- Improved mechanical property performance
- Improved flow/lower injection pressure
- Reduced cooling time (15% to 25%)
Optipro CP47GB PP Resin
The Ford cowl vent grille is the first application for TMG's Optipro CP47GB PP resin. The material offers considerable performance benefits, particularly for Class A exterior automotive applications.
- Post-industrial recycled polypropylene with glass fiber and glass bubble fillers
- 3M Glass Bubbles provide density reduction
- Product density 0.89
- Density advantage of 16% over talc-filled PP targeting comparable performance
- Application cost reduction to talc-filled PP product
- Provides equitable performance to 20% talc-filled homopolymer PP resin
- Helps OEMs to deliver on sustainability objectives with PIR polypropylene resin