About a decade ago, the automotive industry was preparing for legislation imposed by the European Union that would impose hefty fines on cars with excessive CO2 emissions – €95 per gram of CO2 above the limit of 120g per kilometer, per car sold in the EU.
Our polyamide 46 product Stanyl had a modest share of the timing chain guide market, used as a low-wear plastic guide for the chains. It was the lowest friction material available on the market – a fact that we knew, but that was a relative secret to the large car manufacturers. The entire timing chain system has a real impact on fuel economy and emissions due to the resulting friction. We connected this fact to the coming legislation and saw a real opportunity in front of us!
I still remember sitting in my kitchen on a Saturday morning back in 2009 after a long work week, determined to crack the code and quantify the connection between Stanyl’s friction performance and the resulting lower CO2 emissions. My wife was out for the morning, so I brewed another pot of coffee and began working out some calculations. When I finished the calculations, I knew that we had something big here. The friction benefit meant that for an additional €1 in raw material for Stanyl, manufacturers could avoid the €95 emissions penalty.
Once we understood the potential value of using Stanyl in the timing chain system, we knew we needed to take this not only to our direct customers – system suppliers for the timing chain – but also to the car manufacturers. After all, they would have to pay the fines! If we could convince them of Stanyl’s value, they could specify that it be used by the system suppliers. In 2010, the first OEM that tested Stanyl decided to specify it for all new engines.
We didn’t stop there. This wasn’t just a science project—this is a true innovation with real business impact. We wanted to boost value even further. We created a material with even lower friction – Stanyl HGR2 – and again collaborated with a car manufacturer (one of their models was up for an engine makeover). With a strong focus on the best fuel economy possible, they tested HGR2 thoroughly. And it worked! They validated it for usage in one of their engines, which led to us winning the 2017 Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Innovation Award. This was a proud moment for all of us. The culmination of many years of work to become a valuable partner to the auto manufacturers.