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HPPC: Development of a Thermoplastic Solution for Automotive Horizontal Body Panels

SpecialChem / Feb 1, 2008

Today, there are three global trends that call for a thermoplastic solution for horizontal body panels: * Vehicle differentiation reducing the average annual production per name plate * Higher fuel cost demanding lightweight materials * Pedestrian safety regulations being enacted in Europe and Japan Market competition, globalization, new entrants, and increasingly demanding consumers continue to drive automakers to differentiate and segment their portfolios. Over the last twenty years, there has been a consistent decrease on average annual production per "name plate". Parallel to that, the same market forces are also reducing the life of models. The combination of smaller annual productions and shorter lifetimes has a significant influence on the exterior styling of today's cars. Horizontal body panels are the largest exterior parts with the most expensive tooling for steel stamping. When annual builds fall below 50,000 units, the cost for depreciating a multi-million dollar set of tools over a small number of parts becomes very high for a metal stamping solution.

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