The ongoing quest for lightweight vehicles is forcing automotive engineers to look for new ways to replace metal powertrain components with plastic. Benefits of using plastic for underhood applications include the ability to:
- Replace metal parts with fewer engineered thermoplastic parts.
- Reduce assembly time and secondary operations.
- Cut weight and shipping costs.
- Reduce overall systems costs.
- Improve quality control efforts via parts reduction.
Paul Spevetz, technical marketing manager for automotive applications at Ticona Polymers Inc. (Florence, KY) urges engineers to consider three key questions:
- Do any parts have to move relative to one another?
- Do any parts have to be removed from one another?
- Do any parts need to be removed by the user?
“If the answer to any one of these questions is ‘no,’ then consolidation of that individual part is possible,” explains Spevetz.