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Low-Mass SMC Reduces Weight of Class 8 Hood Assembly on Navistar Demonstration Project

SpecialChem / Sep 6, 2010

Whether for land, air, or sea, all OEMs in the transport industry are struggling to find creative ways to reduce weight and increase fuel efficiency. For Class 8 trucks, mass reduction can provide either lower fuel costs and greenhouse-gas emissions or the opportunity for a given rig to haul more product without exceeding legal loading limits. When that's multiplied by the 321,869 km/200,000 mi these trucks are typically driven each year, it quickly adds up to significant savings for fleet owners as well as their customers, and potentially fewer trips to haul the same amount of product, hence lower environmental impact.

A recent demonstration project at Navistar Inc.'s International Division made a running materials change on the hood assembly (hood/top plus left and right fenders) for 40 of the OEM's '08MY TranStar trucks. Conventional toughened, Class A SMC was replaced by a new low-mass, toughened, Class A SMC formulation developed by Ashland Inc. and produced by tier-one processor, Core Molding Technologies. No tooling changes were required; the new grade processed just like the old; and mechanical performance was roughly equivalent, with a slight but acceptable drop in stiffness (5%).

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