Intensifying CO2 regulations urge automotive OEMs to further reduce weight
The trend of introducing CO2 emission regulations is intensifying globally. In the EU, the regulation calls for reducing emissions from 130 grams per kilometer per car in 2015 to 95 grams per kilometer per car by 2020. This means car manufacturers are obliged to reduce emissions by 27% from 2015 levels. In China, electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles have been defined as "new energy vehicles." Car manufacturers that produce more than 30,000 vehicles per year are now required to also produce and sell new energy vehicles at a certain rate. This is part of the government’s efforts to solve serious air pollution problems by speeding the introduction of new energy vehicles.
Responding to these global regulations is an urgent issue for Japan's automotive OEMs, which targets markets all over the world. The changing global business environment is placing greater pressure on the automotive industry to improve fuel economy and reduce weight to meet the regulations.
In order to realize vehicles with substantially lighter weight, manufacturers are taking a closer look at converting parts traditionally made from metals due to durability and cost into parts made from engineering plastic materials. One example is engine covers. Once made from aluminum alloys, parts manufacturers are now creating engine covers from plastic materials. Building on this example, the industry predicts an acceleration in the use plastics for structural parts.
DSM offers ForTii® Ace as a solution that meets the challenges the automotive industry is facing – now and in the coming years. The material features a high glass transition temperature – as high as 160°C versus PPA’s glass transition temperature of about 50°C – making the material suitable for metal replacement in a variety of applications.
Metals have traditionally been used in automotive parts due to the stability of their material properties over time. Parts used under the hood should normally demonstrate stable material properties to 140°C. ForTii Ace demonstrates stable properties at temperatures above this standard.
The material also demonstrates high strength, elastic modulus, and creep resistance. High creep resistance ensures the part retains its initial shape for a longer period of time – extending the lifetime of the part. ForTii Ace retains long-term shape stability with performance on par to thermosetting epoxy resin, and demonstrates long-term retention of its physical properties.
When applied to structural parts for vehicles, engineering plastics require high flow capabilities and easy processability, as well as resistance to heat and chemicals. Materials such as thermosetting resins with molding (tact) times of five to ten minutes or more are not suitable for automotive production lines.
With superior heat resistance and mechanical strength to thermosetting resins, ForTii Ace has been developed to withstand the harsh conditions in which cars operate, demonstrate the heat and chemical resistance needed for structural parts, and combine technical performance with economic feasibility.
As seen in the EU, China and India, environmental regulations for the automotive industry are tightening across the globe. ForTii Ace can play a central role in accelerating weight reduction in the Japanese automotive industry for vehicles sold in markets around the world.