Automakers and Tier One suppliers will be assembling more oil sumps and oil pans from plastic in the near future. They are eager to replace steel and aluminum components with nylon, claims Harry Siepel, automotive application manager at Royal DSM N.V. (Heerlen, Holland).

“Currently, various engine and road tests are ongoing [with Akulon PA6],” says Siepel. “The first prototype parts are based on multipart designs, where the parts are welded together via vibration welding techniques. First results of the feasibility studies already indicate that the noise level with [nylon] oil sumps is comparable to that of sumps from silent steel, when the design is optimized for plastics.

“With improved designs, it is possible to contain more oil with the PA6 solution than is possible in today’s metal sumps,” Siepel points out. “Moreover, various additional functions and features may be integrated in the [nylon] modules. Advantages of using plastic vs. metal include weight, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) and cost reduction, as well as better heat aging resistance and better welding strength.