25th March 2015 by David Mason
Earlier this year, we launched the 3rd Altair Enlighten Award along with our long time partners, Center for Automotive Research (CAR). With 10 weeks to go before the deadline for 2015 entries, I thought this would be a good time to take a look back at last year’s award. For the next 10 weeks we’ll take another look at each of the 2014 nominees and see what made them such an interesting prospect for our judges.
First up is the combined entry from Chrysler, SABIC and Intertec Systems for their mass optimized instrument panel for the Chrysler Jeep Cherokee. The team used a 30% long glass fiber polypropylene composite material, STAMAX™ resin from SABIC to reduce the wallstock to 2.0 mm from the typical thickness of 2.5 to 4 mm. The material provides modulus and stiffness for high performance despite the thin walls.
The weight savings equate to 1.7lbs (0.77kg) per part, a 27% reduction from the baseline design. The design accommodated a reduction in material thickness while also meeting instrument panel performance and dimensional requirements.
SABIC says that STAMAX™ may be applied to other automotive interior and exterior structural applications to realize similar benefits. The approach is innovative, but also practical, proven and ready to apply, contributing to weight out and fuel efficiency gains at a lower cost.
The near 30% weight savings for the Chrysler Jeep Cherokee instrument panel received high praise from the judging panel. While the majority of weight savings potential is often referenced to the car body and panels, SABIC proved that the vehicle’s interior also has a huge amount of weight saving potential. Interiors pose a unique challenge for designers, as they must maintain the high quality look and feel that customers demand while making any design changes. SABIC STAMAX™ long glass fiber reinforced polypropylene material was able to meet these requirements. There is no doubt that we will see many more applications of this novel material across the industry moving forward.
For more about the 2015 Altair Enlighten Award, please visit www.altairenlighten.com/award