Engineered Plastics for Automotive
Plastics are crucial in modern automotive design and manufacturing as they contribute to achieving fuel efficiency standards, reducing vehicle weight, enhancing safety, and allowing for innovative design options. Sterling works closely with Manufacturers to research and develop new manufacturing techniques to further improve vehicle performance, efficiency, and sustainability.
Interior Components: Plastics are extensively used for interior components to achieve a balance between cost, weight reduction, and aesthetics. This includes dashboard panels, door panels, center consoles, glove compartments, and trim pieces.
Seats: Many automotive seats have plastic components, including seat frames, trim covers, and even some structural elements. Plastics can be molded into complex shapes and are lightweight, contributing to overall fuel efficiency.
Instrument Panels: The instrument cluster, including the housing and lens cover, is often made from plastics. These materials are chosen for their ability to be molded into various shapes, their durability, and their optical properties.
Exterior Body Panels: Some modern vehicles incorporate plastic body panels to reduce weight and improve fuel efficiency. These panels are often made from materials like thermoplastics or composite materials.
Bumpers: Bumpers are frequently made from plastic materials that can absorb and dissipate energy in the event of a collision. This helps protect both the vehicle and its occupants.
Grilles and Exterior Trim: Many exterior elements like grilles, trim pieces, and moldings are made from plastic. These components are lightweight and resistant to corrosion.
Lighting: Plastic lenses and housings are used for various automotive lights, including headlights, taillights, and turn signals. These plastics are designed to be durable, impact-resistant, and to provide optical clarity.
Air Intake Systems: Plastics are used in the construction of air intake manifolds and ducts. These components can be designed to optimize airflow and reduce weight.
Engine Components: Some engine components are made from high-temperature plastics that can withstand the heat generated by the engine. Examples include intake manifolds and valve covers.
Fuel Tanks: Many modern vehicles have plastic fuel tanks, which are lightweight and resistant to corrosion. They are designed to meet stringent safety and environmental standards.
Interior Trim and Aesthetics: Plastics are used extensively for decorative and functional interior elements, including knobs, switches, air vents, and cupholders.
Electrical and Wiring Components: Plastics are used for wire insulation, connectors, and various electrical and electronic components within the vehicle’s systems.
Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) Control: Some plastic materials are employed to dampen noise, reduce vibrations, and enhance overall ride comfort.
Safety Features: Plastics are used in the manufacturing of safety features such as airbags, which have plastic housings and covers.
Tires: While not a traditional automotive plastic, some tires use reinforced plastic materials in their construction for improved performance and durability.
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