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High-Speed All-Electric Machine Line LaunchesKorea’s LS Mtron will introduce the ONE*-E series with five sizes—120, 140, 190, 310, and 390 tons—with plans to introduce four more models later this year.LS Mtron (U.S. offices Peachtree Corners, Ga.) will introduce the ONE*-E line of all-electric injection molding machines at Plastec West (Anaheim, Calif.; April 12-14) in the Hirate America booth. The ONE*-E is a new, all-electric injection molding machine from LS Mtron that features a new toggle-link design for fast, best-in-class speeds (1.49 second dry cycle times). The ONE*-E will launch in the U.S. with five sizes of 120, 140, 190, 310, and 390 tons, with plans to introduce four more models later in 2022. The company says the machines are suited for  high-cavitation, high-speed, and thinwall molding typical in packaging and medical applications. The machines utilize a new optimized toggle for fast cycles and precision molding, according to LS Mtron. Specifically the company says the new toggle design allows a 30% faster link-speed ratio and a dry-cycle time of just 1.49 seconds. In addition, the ONE*-E features an overall smaller footprint compared to existing ONE*-E’s, shrinking from 5453 by 1499 by 1853 mm (approx. 215 by 59 by 74 in.) to 5281 by 1495 by 1800 mm (208 by 59 by 71 in.).Constructed from a rigid, one-piece casting, the ONE*-E offeres reduced vibration while shortening the injection acceleration time for thinwall molding by almost 4 times, according to LS Mtron, from 78 ms to 20 ms. The company says the rigid construction and a low-inertia design also reduced rotator inertia by 74%. The machine’s control features a 18.5-in. touchscreen as standard, with a 21.5-in. option that gives users swipe, pinch and zoom functionality. It also offers users LS Mtron’s CSI monitoring and control software for retrieving and controlling data, using a next-generation dual-core CPU. The CPU structure allows the machine’s control to separate the architecture into main and HMI CPUs. This allows it to improve load times and offer additional modes, including clamp-force optimization mode; clamping high-speed low-vibration profile mode; high-speed injection mode; packing (or holding) pressure pattern selection mode; and residual pressure elimination mode in case of charging completion.In addition to automatic weight control software, the ONE*-E can monitor clamp force via a tie bar sensor to automatically calibrate closing force. There is also an automatic zero-point adjustment mode for a spring mold. The machine’s dual center press die structure minimizes the platen deformation while also better distributing surface pressure in the mold, helping to extend tool life.  Digital load cells improve measurement control and process reproducibility. Specifically, the company says it allows minimized deviation through precise injection pressure and charging control; increased servo motor encoder resolution from 17 bits to 20 bits; enhanced response performance to the drive control frequency by 3.7 times; and faster Ethernet communication by 2 times.The ONE*-E line of all-electric injection molding machines will debut in the U.S. with five tonnages.Source:https://www.ptonline.com/products/high-speed-all-electric-machine-line-launchesEdit : handler
editor 2022-02-22
In big shift to EVs, supplier forecasts differGlobal supplier projections on how large the EV market will be over the next decade vary by quite a bit.Las Vegas — As established automakers and industry newcomers talked up new electric models at CES last week, major suppliers for many of those vehicles have significantly different forecasts for how quickly consumers will buy them.Take ZF Group and Magna International Inc., the world's third- and fourth-largest suppliers. ZF anticipates EV production accounting for about 45 percent of global vehicle output by 2030, with EVs representing 49 percent of all vehicles assembled in North America."We see the U.S. certainly catching up globally to the other major markets," said John Hawkins, ZF's vice president of electrified powertrains for North America.Magna, meanwhile, sees EV sales accounting for only about 20 percent of the global market by 2030, with the U.S. coming in below the global average.Magna Chief Technology Officer Anton Mayer told Automotive News that consumer acceptance of EVs might be hindered by each country's charging infrastructure."In Europe, I see a lot of activity in investments in infrastructure," he said. "In the U.S., I see the possibility of the Biden administration, that they want to spend on a lot of things. But I'm still critical about if this will be right in time."Pace of adoptionThe discrepancy between the two suppliers' forecasts underscores the lingering uncertainty over how quickly the new-vehicle market will shift toward EVs.President Joe Biden set a target of having half of all U.S. new-vehicle sales by 2030 be zero-emission. In November, Biden signed into law an infrastructure bill that included $7.5 billion for EV charging stations and $65 billion to upgrade the nation's electric grid.But plans to extend tax credits to foster EV adoption are now uncertain since the administration ran into a political wall in opposition to its ambitious Build Back Better legislation.John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, believes the speed with which Americans adopt EVs will come down to how well the country can build up its charging infrastructure. The alliance, which represents most automakers in the U.S. and many suppliers, in December released a list of recommendations for public charging stations in the U.S. to help bolster EV adoption, including the use of DC fast chargers and stations that can accommodate different vehicle designs."We're moving strongly in that direction," Bozzella said. "But it'll take a significant degree of engagement and partnership across the private sector."In addition to auto manufacturers and suppliers and dealers, it's going to take utilities and builders of residences and commercial buildings and fleet purchasers to step up. And it's going to require thoughtful engagement on the part of government at the local, state and federal level."Their forecasts may differ, but ZF and Magna agree that North America will be slower to adopt EVs than Europe and China. ZF forecasts that EVs will account for 54 percent of Chinese vehicle production by 2030, while EV production in the European Union will account of 59 percent by then.French supplier Valeo forecasts that about half the of the global new-vehicle market will be composed of EVs and other electrified vehicles by 2030. But the rate of adoption will vary greatly by market, said Geoffrey Bouquot, chief technology officer at Valeo, the world's 10th-largest automotive supplier."It depends on the different places and regulations," Bouquot said.Automaker plansElectric vehicle plans dominated automotive activity at CES. General Motors unveiled its long-anticipated 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV. Stellantis said its Chrysler brand will go all-electric by 2028, and Sony said it is now exploring entering the EV business.Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch North America, said developing the country's charging infrastructure capabilities will be key to developing trust with consumers on EVs, as well as getting more of them inside of one during a drive."It's sort of like riding an e-bike," he said. "Once you ride one, it's like, 'Wow, I really like this.' "But Mansuetti declined to give a forecast for EV market share by 2030. Bosch is the world's largest automotive supplier, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center, and the company is investing heavily in EV technologies.The varying supplier views in Las Vegas mirror those of the industry at large, according to a 2021 KPMG survey of 1,118 auto executives around the world.In the survey, executives anticipated that 52 percent of all new vehicles sold in the U.S., China and Japan would be electric by 2030, compared with 48 percent in western Europe. But opinions still varied wildly, with executives giving answers of anywhere between 5 and 90 percent, KPMG global head of automotive Gary Silberg previously told Automotive News.Jamie Butters contributed to this report.source : How big will the EV market be? Global auto suppliers disagree | Plastics Newsedit : plastic handler 
Editor 2022-02-22
LS Mtron captivates the injection molding machine industry with customized multi-shot injection molding!Currently, the injection molding market’s entry level is relatively low in emerging countries such as China and India. However, attempts to improve the value of products by adopting complex plastic surgery technologies are increasing, and plastic surgery techniques to improve productivity are continuously being developed.Among them, multi-shot injection molding machine is a structure that requires high initial setup costs, including IMM and mold costs, and demanding technical skills for materials and processes. In the future, the higher the customer's demand for quality and appearance, the stronger the demand for the injection molding and IMM is expected.At a time when demand for multicolor molding machines is increasing due to the recent advancement and automation, LS Mtron Co., Ltd. will briefly discuss multi-shot injection that can produce simple household goods, high-end interior/external materials and parts, and introduce our products.1. The concept of multi-shot injectionMulti-component injection molding, also known as multi-shot, refers to the process of simultaneously injecting two or more colored and raw materials into a mold to form a single jet2. Type and characteristics(1) Type of multicolored, multiple injection molding① Multi-component injection moldingWith two substances ejected into different liquids and present at the same time as a sandwich structure, the raw material is injected into concentric circles using the same mold/gate, or by repositioning using gates at different locations.② Multi-shot injection moldingIt means making multiple layers based on the starting axis of the initial mold. In other words, heated materials are inserted into the mold one after another in a particular order, which creates a layering effect between materials while maintaining relatively high energy interactions at the material boundary. This means that interlayer bonding is more powerful in that it is a combination under heated and melted conditions, compared to overmolding being injected into existing cooled parts. This is preferred when various molds(different shapes) are needed.③ Over-moldingThis has the most powerful layering effect. This process is used to add shapes and structures to existing components using melted resin, and is an injection method that is applied when layers with various geometric profiles are needed around the central 'core' structure. ▲Types of techniques applied to multicolor injection(2) Type of multiple, multicolored injectionMulti-shot injectin molding can be applied variously depending on the free injection expression and factory installation environment by the customer's product characteristics. In addition, cost can be drastically reduced by omitting post-process processes.In addition, the defect rate in the post-processing process decreases. During the post-treatment process of heterogeneous/different materials, it is also characterized by a reduction in the number of metachromatic stain and poor bonding.Also, additional manpower and facilities are not required according to the existing assembly process, and one-stop production can reduce incidental production time to maximize efficiency.3. Current status and prospects of Multi-shot injection moldingCurrently, many companies have entered the multicolor injection molding market, but each has a low share because it is very subdivided. In particular, the degree of competition is not considered to be relatively high because the injection molding process or control of equipment is more difficult than general injection molding. Especially, multi-shot injection molding are difficult for manufacturers to access because they require a special design, have fewer suppliers, more expensive machines, and are somewhat limited in supply and demand. Therefore, the higher the customer's demand for quality and appearance in the future, the higher the demand for the injection molding and machine is expected to increase.Meanwhile, the advantages of multicolor injection molding are attracting more OEMs to multicolor injection molding. It is possible to mold high-precision parts with various color combinations and one injection machine, increasing the value of the product.Recently, as aesthetic and ergonomic designs have become more important, rubber materials, joining technologies with silicon materials, and seal molding methods are drawing attention. This is also expected to be a positive factor for the multicolor injection molding market(e.g., bicycle handlebars/grips, operating buttons and anti-slip, etc.).▲Increasing demand for multicolored(material) molders4. LS Mtron’s multi-shot injection molding solutionCurrently, LS Mtron provides multi-shot injeciton molding using LS Mtron's accumulated power-driven techniques to control injection volume, speed through multiple injection and digital precision control which injects two or more materials simultaneously or sequentially. In particular, it is possible to change and combine to suit the customer's needs, providing a customized solution to the special purpose customer, and transport it by axis or vertical rotation using the rotational function provided by the machine or mold.Next, I would like to introduce the description and features of our multiple and multi-shot injeciton molding.(1) WIZ-EC① Pneumatic stopper: Easy to replace the stopper and adjust the position of the taper stopper.② Best-in-class rotating plate size: the largest gap between the tie bar in Korea and the extension of the length of the shape③ Rotating plate servo motor drive: Reduce mold rotation time and improve positional precision with index units using AC server④ Option: Application of ejector pin segmentation type(reduction of extraction time) / Application of magnetic plates(2) WIZ-ED① Injection exclusively for LENS- Large specifications of screws can be fitted to primary and secondary injection units- Post-molded products by applying longitudinal pressure injection servo(maintenance time of more than 300 seconds)- Transparent Dedicated Screw Design Applied- Injection Precision Slow Control- Reduce cycle time(2-layered molding)- High-rigid center press plate applied② Molding characteristics- Secondary injection system can be installed without restricting injection volume- Easy to switch into general injection(single product)- Utilization of floor space is relatively efficient(3) WIZ-EV① Vertical structure of a two-liquid injection device: The injection device is mounted perpendicular to the top of the fixed plate and occupies the same space as the standard machine(high-cycle shape high speed application / high-digestion screw applied exclusively for packaging)② Multi-layer technology applied: Technology that improves the formation of blocking layers(EVOHs) on the surface of the product through multi-stage injection▲Multi-Layer technology (4) WIZ-EPR① Molding characteristics- The narrower the gap between the two nozzles, the more space between the four tie bars can be fully utilized to minimize the mold size- Individual control of two injection units results in different injection sequences and increased molding precision- European double injection molds or standard molds can be applied② Core Turn- By applying core turn(index core), 4 portable plates of servo motor injection molding machine are installed to implement individual and simultaneous operation- Simplify mold structure and increase productivity- Fast and accurate core rotation with servo precision control(5) WIZ-EL① Mechanical structure- Additional injection device is located on the semi-manipulated side(determined according to mold structure)- A structure in which two gates are perpendicular to each other in two types of molds- 1st injection device: press + 2nd injection device power type② Scalability- Applicable to existing injection machines or third-party injection machines- Up to 5 additional injection devices can be attached■ Contact: LS Mtron's Injection Molding Machine Division www.lsinjection.com
Editor 2021-06-15
Freudenberg Sealing Technologies expands testing capabilities for materials used with lithium-ion batteriesPlymouth, Mich. — Demand for lithium-ion batteries is poised for exponential growth as sustainable technologies continue to gain traction in a number of markets including automotive, transportation, electronics, agriculture, mining and construction.Freudenberg Sealing Technologies' latest investment is helping it prepare for that boom.FST expanded the material testing capabilities at its Central Laboratory in Plymouth, adding specially designed spaces, upgraded safety equipment and access to important chemicals and solutions. The expansion allows the company to test the performance and compatibility of materials — rubber, elastomers and thermoplastics — used to safely seal and maintain lithium-ion batteries.F. Joseph Walker, director of research and development for FST in the Americas, said the expansion not only gives customers more robust testing options, it provides new insights."What we can now offer customers is design security, based on scientific data," Walker said in a statement. "… Previous efforts have been conducted to determine the impact of materials on the electrolyte. This work focuses upon the impact the electrolyte has on the materials."The heart of FST's recent investment is a specially designed Isolation and Containment Chamber (IsoC). The IsoC — a two-chambered glass and steel enclosure —adds a layer of safety to the tests conducted with the lithium electrolytic solutions found in lithium-ion battery cells. FST, in describing the "very aggressive" solutions, noted that they "are volatile, toxic and flammable when exposed to oxygen and ambient air moisture."Technicians and chemists involved in the testing also are equipped with head-to-toe protective gear and special respirators; non-reactive, nickel-based immersion vessels; and a safety monitoring and alarm system that can detect spills, leakage, gas formation or other hazards.New technology also allows laboratory chemists to monitor the immersion samples remotely at any time from anywhere using a laptop computer, phone or tablet.Two electrolytic solutions are used in the testing — one commonly found in the lithium-ion batteries and one developed as a control. Families of materials developed by FST will be tested first and commercially available materials used in the batteries will be examined next.Tests, such as those FST plans to conduct, not only require sophisticated safety equipment, they're expensive as well. For instance, the electrolytic solutions used in the testing cost several thousand dollars a gallon, FST said. Nonetheless, the company sees it as money well-spent."We have taken this proactive step on behalf of our customers and in response to a growing use of lithium-ion batteries in diverse applications," Walker said.While the company did not disclose the total cost for expansion, it noted in a March 16 news release that the testing facility and capabilities required a "six-figure investment." The move puts FST in a testing arena where few reside."The risks associated with testing lithium-ion battery materials exposed to electrolytic solutions are real, and the cost of controlling them is one of the reasons only a handful of universities are the only other organizations to conduct such testing," FST said.source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/freudenberg-sealing-technologies-expands-testing-capabilities-materials-used-lithium-ionEdit : HANDLER
editor 2021-04-21
Automakers seek more ethical, resilient supply chainsElectric vehicle batteries require cobalt.Most cobalt comes from mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Congo is a nation plagued by instability and a lack of rule of law that allows some mining companies to exploit their workers.Welcome to the challenge of auto industry supply chain ethics.Supplier disruptions caused by the pandemic are being amplified by concerns about how to ethically source critical automotive materials.The drive has given a new urgency to supply chain transparency. But the work is both labor-intensive and unreliable. Automakers and many Tier 1 parts makers have been trying to peel back the layers of their parts and material sourcing for nearly a decade, especially since a combined earthquake and tsunami in Japan made getting some key materials impossible."We have gone through every step of the supply chain to the cobalt mine to make sure it's ethically correct," Volvo procurement boss Martina Buchhauser said in an online presentation during last month's Financial Times Digital Future of the Car summit. "But what we were missing was a technological way of tracing and putting a ledger on it. And making sure it can't be fiddled with after the fact."In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Volvo aims to widen this transparency to other parts of its supply chain. "If something happens again," Buchhauser said, "it would be good to have more visibility in the supply chain."Volvo also wants more insight into the ethical sourcing of all of its other parts, and to be able to track its CO2 footprint across the entire supply chain."At our heart is safety and sustainability, and responsible sourcing and CO2 footprint are a big part of that," Buchhauser said. "At first it was a bit funny, because everyone was like, 'Oh, you really mean this?' Now our suppliers are well educated and want the same things."To monitor the origins of their supply of cobalt, both Volvo and Daimler are working with the U.K.-based startup Circulor, a company that tracks vast amounts of purchasing and logistics data in a process referred to as blockchain.Such supply chain analytics have been around for a while, with companies such as ELM Analytics and Resilinc offering to map chains down through all tiers of suppliers. The data is becoming increasingly valuable as automakers and suppliers try to protect themselves from surprise source shutdowns.But identifying every tier is an impossible task, said Ian Harnett, who spoke at the summit just before retiring at the end of July from his position as Jaguar Land Rover's purchasing chief."I would love to know everything all the way down," he said. "But, realistically, I would need an army of people. I would need supercomputers. And the first time a Tier 4 supplier changed one of its Tier 5 suppliers the data is of no use anymore."Worse, it is unclear whether possessing all that data would truly change anything — other than where it concerned conflict materials, such as cobalt.Harnett gave the example of the shiny pigment known as Xirallic, which is used universally in metallic paints and is produced solely in Japan.Xirallic production crashed with the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, halting the output of many vehicles in the U.S."None of us knew what it was," he said of Xirallic. Yet little has changed, he said. "Even after all this time, there's still only one place in the world that makes it."Dual sourcingSome automakers have spoken about the need to increase dual sourcing — relying on two suppliers to make the same part — to avoid breaking the chain in the event of disasters such as the pandemic."This is definitely something we are looking at," Kia Europe COO Emilio Herrera told Automotive News Europe. "We wouldn't want to be in the same situation again, where we depend on a sole supplier."The value of dual sourcing became clear during this year's pandemic. An exclusive reliance on parts suppliers in China's Hubei province, the site of the first outbreak of COVID- 19, cost some automakers dearly, according to a report by the analysis arm of ING bank.But dual sourcing is not an option for smaller-volume producers such as JLR."Making double sets of tools just in case there's an earthquake or some other crisis is simply unaffordable," Harnett said.The massive cost of supply chain holdups means extra scrutiny of this part of auto manufacturing is going to be inevitable."The issue keeps coming up," said Matteo Fini, executive director for automotive supply chain and technology at IHS Markit. "Since the tsunami and Thai floods, around 2011 and 2012, awareness has increased among automakers, starting with the Japanese, and Toyota in particular. They have begun a very thorough exercise to map as much supply chain tiers as possible and have asked their major Tier 1 suppliers to do the same."Suppliers are generally supportive of the process."If you are using new tools — cloud service or digital monitoring — to manage complexity to get a better understanding, it helps all of us," said Thorsten Muschal, executive vice president of sales and program management for Faurecia, as well as president of the European supplier organization CLEPA. "We all have to reduce costs and risk management, and anticipation can do that."He named other benefits as well, such as tracking parts and calculating CO2 footprint, especially when looking ahead to the possibility of CO2 taxes in Europe in the near future. "I would say it was as essential for suppliers as automakers."But some suppliers remain a bit leery about providing automakers with too much insight into a Tier 1 supplier's own supply chain arrangements."There are concerns around what sort of ammunition this transparency could give to an automaker's purchasing department," Fini pointed out. "They could request their Tier 2 or Tier X suppliers to move up the chain, for example."And establishing a blockchain solution is also no simple matter.Two years ago, BMW co-founded the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, and last year it completed a pilot solely involving the purchase of front lights.BMW acknowledges the difficulty of tracking a part's origin and supply route when so many players are involved. The goal of the pilot, it said, was to "ensure seamless traceability of components more or less at the push of a button."Andreas Wendt, BMW's head of purchasing and supplier network, said this year that the company's vision is to "create an open platform that will allow data within supply chains to be exchanged and shared safely and anonymized across the industry."source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/automakers-seek-more-ethical-resilient-supply-chains
editor 2020-08-21
GM steadfast on EV strategy, Barra saysGeneral Motors2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV.Detroit — Even if it's decades before electric vehicles become the dominant form of transportation industrywide, General Motors will continue to take the lead, CEO Mary Barra told reporters Monday.The company remains fully committed to its EV strategy despite interruptions to product programs and factory schedules, and the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Barra said during a webcast media briefing organized by the Automotive Press Association.Barra told Bloomberg News last week that it could be decades before EVs become the primary mode of transportation, but she added Monday that GM will drive the growth of EV production and sales.Barra is confident that EV sales will gain traction eventually, and especially at GM, "but if you look at the whole portfolio [industrywide] changing over, that tail could be a bit longer," she said.The Chevrolet Bolt is GM's only battery electric option today. But after the automaker previewed the forthcoming electric GMC Hummer during the Super Bowl this year, Barra said customers were excited about its EV plans."We need to make sure that the product is great and that people know about it," Barra said. "We will be making sure we have the right presence and get the right level of information out to customers so they know the vehicles and know what they can do."GM has pledged $20 billion for electric and autonomous vehicle programs through 2025. The automaker plans to have 20 EVs globally by 2023 and is converting a Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in Michigan into an EV manufacturing hub with a $3 billion investment. EV production at the assembly plant has remained on track, despite closures related to the pandemic while some updates to internal combustion vehicles were delayed.The automaker undertook other cost-cutting moves to weather the coronavirus, but Barra said Monday that there isn't a need for further coronavirus-related cost reductions.Battery productionGM also broke ground this year on a battery lab in Ohio to build proprietary Ultium batteries with LG Chem. GM says its battery costs will soon fall below $100 per kilowatt-hour — the threshold widely seen as making EVs competitive with internal-combustion vehicles — and has partnered with Honda to co-develop two Honda EVs. Vans powered by the Ultium batteries could also give GM opportunities on the commercial side. Electrification of commercial vehicles is a" huge opportunity for us," Barra said."We have a steady drumbeat of EVs coming out across segments to appeal to a variety of customers," Barra said. But GM isn't giving up on internal combustion vehicles. The automaker will continue to launch internal combustion vehicles in conjunction with EVs, she said.Barra said GM has a plan to eventually transition some powertrain plants to build EV components, but not all. There will long be a market for internal combustion vehicles, she said.source :  https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/gm-steadfast-ev-strategy-barra-says
Editor 2020-07-05
'Virtually limitless' opportunities for plastics in changing auto industry, researchers sayDetroit — As the future of automotive mobility and autonomy becomes clearer, advanced plastics are poised to play a significant role, industry professionals and researchers at both the American Chemistry Council and the Center for Automotive Research say.ACC's 2020 automotive road map shows many opportunities for advanced plastics and polymer composites in future car design.An eventual shift to personal mobility isn't possible without plastics, said Gina Oliver, senior director of ACC's automotive team, which developed the road map.The council's plastics division also helped to develop the roadmap, released on March 3, working with researchers and the auto industry to provide insight on technological, cultural and economic trends that it says drive personal mobility and automotive innovation.Two previous road maps focused on regulations and how ACC could help automakers use plastic and composites to improve fuel economy or lightweight a vehicle. But regulation is just "a piece of the larger puzzle," Oliver said."That's still certainly relevant today, but now there's so many new, different drivers happening with the revolution in personal and automotive mobility," she said.Bernard Swiecki, director of Automotive Communities Partnership at CAR, said during Plastics News' March 23 Plastics in Automotive live session that its own technology road map, which came out in November, also shows a space for plastic development, as mild- and high-strength steels decline."I don't think anything here has the same explosion, in terms of growth, that you see in plastics and composites," he said. And that forecast "seems to be basically a world consensus."The challenge for carmakers and suppliers, Swiecki said, will be "getting these materials to play nice together."Materials and autonomyConsidering a pending future of autonomy, Oliver said, plastic components will need to be developed "throughout the entire vehicle.""In order for autonomous vehicles to become a reality, the vehicle is going to have thousands of sensors, radar, lidar and reconfigurable interiors with people out of normal-occupant positions," she said. "All of those sensors are going to need plastics to work."Developers will need to figure out new, movable seating scenarios in vehicle interiors, Oliver said, and how to protect occupants in those configurations."Folks are going to have this new pocket of time and we need to figure out how to protect them doing whatever it is they want to do inside their vehicle, whether it's work at a desk or kids playing video games in the back around a TV," she said. "You're going to have to put air bags in places that aren't normally there in a vehicle, have seat belts in certain configurations and move the seat belts around in the vehicle. … Plastics are the only way to make that happen."Electrification opportunitiesACC's road map also shows many opportunities for plastics and composites to help maintain vehicle performance in electrification."People still want power when they step on the gas pedal," Oliver said. "You have to use a light, strong material, and that's what plastics and composites do."However, Swiecki said, CAR doesn't predict electric vehicles taking ahold of the market, even in the next 10 years."It's a little bit underwhelming compared to some of the really optimistic estimates a decade ago or in 2008 when fuel shot up to four dollars a gallon," Swiecki said. "We still think that close to 90 percent of the vehicles that we sell in 2030 will still be either internal combustion engine working alone or internal combustion engine in a hybrid system."Ride-sharingOliver said automotive OEMs and engineers are already starting to implement more plastic components, instead of turning to traditional materials they were more comfortable with in the past.In a potential future with more ride-sharing and large fleets of vehicles, Oliver said, affordable and easy-to-clean component material will be important for both manufacturers and consumers."Plastics and composites are that tough material on the interior that can be antimicrobial," she said. "We also have the possibility of self-cleaning surfaces. It makes a more pleasant and hygienic experience for all occupants and consumers. People don't want to get into a car that a lot of people have touched that day unless they can feel really confident that it's clean."In this revolutionary time for personal mobility, Oliver said, the traditionally slow-moving automotive industry needs to find solutions and implement them quickly in order to keep up.Doug Gergel, automotive application director at 3D printing startup Carbon, said that additive manufacturing can "make immediate design results a reality.""Suppliers today largely rely on low-volume, single-cavity injection mold tools," Gergel said. "These tools can take 12, 14, 16 weeks to have ready to go, and then there's an iterate cycle to inspect and report the tool."As we're seeing these trends come forward, what I see is greater segmentation amongst automakers, more diverse programs, programs that have go-fast timing and that are relatively low volume," Gergel said "I think additive manufacturing offers value in a lot of those cases."Sustainability and circularityReeshemah Howard, director of strategic programs and partnerships at General Motors, said the automaker's sustainability goals like total end-of-life battery recycling and greater than 85 percent vehicle recycling by mass, among others, call for supplier collaborator for new material innovations in its vehicles."GM currently operates with the circular economy in mind," Howard said. "For plastics, we're evaluating if we can use some additional post-consumer or post-industrial content as well as bio-based materials inside some of our plastics."In 2020, ACC added two new letters to its usual "ACES" road map acronym, to "put a spotlight on" sustainability and circularity, Oliver said."Contrary to popular belief, plastic and composites are recyclable," Oliver said. "There's a lot of opportunity for in-production recycling of waste. We're seeing more and more OEMs utilize that and it drives production cost down for them."Obviously automotive is a more durable good, but at the end of vehicle life, we need to work together to make sure materials can be separated … in order to recycle them, put them back into use for new vehicle production, or maybe turn them into a good elsewhere in the value stream, like water bottles, carpets or whatever that may be," she said.A conversation on how to achieve circularity in the automotive industry, "a huge undertaking," Oliver said, needs to be had across the entire supply chain."This is an infrastructure challenge for everyone in the industry," Oliver said. "Let's have a call to action and identify the existing challenges in terms infrastructure for of end of vehicle life. … We need to work together to define what it means and how to get there."Oliver said plastics allow "virtually limitless possibilities and opportunities for solutions.""In plastics and chemistry, if you tell us what you need, we can create it," Oliver said. But ACC can't actualize a revolution alone, she said. "It's something we all have to do together."ConnectivityCircularitySustainabilityElectrificationSource : https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/virtually-limitless-opportunities-plastics-changing-auto-industry-researchers-say
editor 2020-04-07
Adac joint venture with Ainstein adds ‘brains' to molded auto partsAdac Automotive Inc.At CES, held Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas, Radac Automotive demonstrated its millimeter wave radar module. The patent-pending technology shows how gestures can be used to open a truck tailgate hands-free.Vehicles are changing and getting smarter, as mechatronics, electronics and autonomous functions supersede more traditional mechanical parts and features on the interior and exterior.For Adac Automotive Inc., a Tier 1 supplier and injection molder based in Cascade Township, Mich., near Grand Rapids, this technology progression affects its biggest product segment in the automotive market: door handles."Whether it's door handles or latches, all these things are purely mechanical parts becoming electronically driven with 'brains,'" Adac's Jeff Ackerman, executive vice president of global business development, said in a phone interview with Plastics News."We recognize that customers are going to start using things like gesture access to open a tailgate or open a liftgate, or open a power-sliding door or a side door. And they need obstacle detection technology, as well, when you have automated doors opening, so they don't hit things — people, objects and so forth," he explained.These changes to the product area nudged Adac to start looking into current and emerging vehicle technology, such as lidar, that would allow the company to integrate these features into its product DNA.The company determined radar was the best technology for the task because of its usefulness on the vehicle exterior, especially in varying weather conditions."New radar technology has the ability to discern minute detail … in all weather conditions," Ackerman said of millimeter wave radar, or mmWave radar, specifically. "It doesn't care about snow. It doesn't care about dirt on the outside of the car."A genius partnershipOn Jan. 2, just days before the start of CES in Las Vegas, Adac announced it was teaming up with Ainstein Inc., a Lawrence, Kan.-based startup specializing in smart radar systems and other advanced sensing technologies, to form a 50-50 joint venture that will design, develop and manufacture mmWave radar-based sensing products for the global automotive market.The joint venture, called Radac Automotive, is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2020. Appointed leadership of the venture is still under consideration, but the workforce — about 15 employees to start — will include representatives from both Adac and Ainstein, Ackerman said.As for location, there is a "high likelihood" that operations will be set up in Michigan, he said.Radac Automotive will operate independently as a Tier 1 supplier of radar technology, products and services to the automotive industry. The joint venture's focus on mmWave radar-based sensing products will be used for applications such as proximity gesture access sensors, vehicle access and entry, parking assistance, object detection, advanced driver assistance systems, in-cabin sensing and vital sign monitoring, and autonomous driving."The biggest change for us as a company is that we've got to retain our roots but become much smarter on the software and electronics hardware side," Ackerman said. "For a few years now, we've been running around chasing electrical engineering talent and bringing them into the company, and really focused on what do we have to do to our products to stay relevant in 10 years? The biggest answer is these parts have to become smart, and we have to become smart with them."Through the strategic alliance, Ainstein will extend its expertise in radar technology to Adac's reputation as a Tier 1 automotive supplier. At CES, held Jan. 7-10, the two companies demonstrated the first Radac mmWave radar module. The patent-pending technology is designed to offer hands-free vehicle access."Ainstein recognizes the potential for our radar technology to be successful in the automotive industry and believes the strategic joint venture with Adac Automotive will streamline the process of bringing intelligent products to market," Andrew Boushie, Ainstein's vice president of strategy and partnerships, said in an emailed response. "This partnership successfully compresses the supply chain by bringing solutions to market that are fully integrated, facilitating the building of smarter vehicles."Adac has additional partnerships that expand its global reach. This includes an alliance with Germany's Witte Automotive GmbH and Wisconsin's Strattec Security Corp. in Vehicle Access Systems Technology, or VAST Automotive Group, which provides a footprint in Europe, Asia, India and Brazil. In addition, Adac has two facilities in Mexico through another joint venture, Adac Strattec de Mexico LLC.The company is ranked No. 42 on Plastics News' annual ranking of North American injection molders. Adac's injection molding sales for 2018 were $233 million, according to PN estimates."You see it with even our OEM customers who are massive companies. They're all partnering with people because they need the expertise that is … too hard to build organically fast enough," Ackerman said of strategic partnerships in the automotive industry. "I think partnerships are one of the answers to get where you want to be and leverage yourself."With Ainstein's expertise in smart radar systems, Ackerman said it also provides an opportunity for Adac to broaden its product focus to other areas of the vehicle beyond door handles, such as parts on the bumper or the liftgate — basically anywhere you can integrate radar."You certainly want to hold on to the core things that made you a good company in the first place, but you have to evolve and pay attention to what's going on around you and adapt," he explained. "We're not a tiny company, but in the automotive space, we're not very big. We survive by trying to pay attention and get down the road of where you have to be in five years, not tomorrow."Source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/adac-joint-venture-ainstein-adds-brains-molded-auto-parts  Edit : handler
Editor 2020-01-26
Stäubli robots answer automotive's needs for productivity, reliability and collaborationAudrey LaForestThe TX2touch is Stäubli's highest version of collaboration annd its safest cobot on the market, according to Olivier Cremoux, the company's business development manager for North America.Novi, Mich. — Every industry has specific needs when it comes to production. Those requirements vary widely depending on the parts you are producing and the customers you are serving.In automotive, the main needs are productivity and reliability, according to Olivier Cremoux, business development manager for North America at Stäubli Corp., the U.S. subsidiary of Switzerland's Stäubli Group. The company specializes in three core areas: connectors, such as mold clamping systems and quick-release couplings; robotics; and machinery for textile production."That's a big concern in the automotive market — the reliability — because they cannot have a shutdown of the production," Cremoux said during a technology days event in September at its Novi training facility and service center.The Novi location officially opened in June 2018. It houses the company's sales, service and engineering staff who primarily support Stäubli's Tier 2 and Tier 3 automotive parts supplier customers."You cannot have downtime in the production," he said. "So [automotive customers] want a system to be performing at this level of productivity all the time."During the tech days event, the company had live demonstrations of all the things its robots can do, especially parts picking, assembly and collaborative applications. Examples included automated parts handling with the new TS2 60 SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm), a TX 90L bin-picker; and a TX2touch 60, a six-axis collaborative robot showing an Asyril flex feeding application."The idea is really to present new solutions to the customers, to help them think out of the box. … How can I bring a little bit of automation, but still maintain some operators and collaborate with my operators?" he explained. "So we try to bring solutions, concepts, and to make them think about how they could develop their actual production process."Collaboration — between Stäubli and its customers as well as machine to machine and machine to operator, thanks in part to Industry 4.0 connectivity — has been "really pushed by the automotive market," Cremoux said."Their three main requirements are: I want more productivity, meaning basically I want to get a return on investments faster on my robotic solution. I want reliability. I don't want any problems on my line — no time for that. I want more collaboration because I want to be able to combine operators and robotics working at the same time."But if operators and robots are working side-by-side, safety becomes the No. 1 priority.With the TX2touch, for example — Stäubli's highest version of collaboration and its safest cobot on the market, Cremoux said — the robot slows down as soon as an operator enters the working environment. It is also outfitted with a safe touch skin that can be up to 20 millimeters thick. When an operator touches the skin, the robot stops."If I come closer, I'm detected, and this is a safe-stop," Cremoux said while demonstrating the TX2touch's safety features."If I touch him, he will stop, meaning I can be working close to the robotic system. If there is a risk of damage, he will not move. If there is a risk of collision, he will stop," he explained. "It's collaboration with different safety functions."For the plastics industry, in general, cartesian or linear robots are still used more often, especially if it's a basic or cheap part that just needs to be unloaded from an injection molding machine.If the plastic part has added value or requires secondary processes, though, that's when five- or six-axis robots make more sense, Cremoux said. This is especially true in automotive, where parts can get complex and a higher level of quality is demanded."As soon as you look at automotive, you look at a little bit more complex parts with higher quality requirements. An automotive manufacturer would want his part inspected before it's shipped to him," Cremoux said. "All of this can be done, linked to the molding process. … We give the possibility for the customer to choose what does he really want and what does he need, and we guide him."source: https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/staubli-robots-answer-automotives-needs-productivity-reliability-and-collaboration
editor 2019-12-28
FDA warns of medical device shortagesFood & Drug AdministrationWith recent and potential closures of certain ethylene oxide sterilization facilities, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is concerned about the future availability of sterile medical devices and the potential for medical device shortages that might impact patient care.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking manufacturers of medical devices that need to be sterilized with ethylene oxide to assess their inventories following the closure of some large-scale facilities that use the gas to remove potentially harmful germs.The permanent closure of a Sterigenics ethylene oxide sterilization facility in Illinois on Sept. 30, contract sterlizer Viant's closure in Grand Rapids, Mich., and the temporary closures of another Sterigenics facility in Georgia and a large Becton, Dickinson and Co. sterilization facility, also in Georgia, could affect the availability of some medical devices used by health care professionals and patients.The sterilization facilities are being temporarily and permanently closed by Environmental Protection Agency officials for emitting unsafe levels of ethylene oxide into the air around their sites. The National Institutes of Health says exposure to dangerous levels of ethylene oxide can cause cancer.However, another health concern is rising. More than 20 billion devices sold in the U.S. every year are sterilized with ethylene oxide and there's currently no viable alternative to this process, according to Norman Sharpless, the acting FDA commissioner.Sharpless is sounding the alarm about potential disruptions in the supply chain for medical devices, such as emergency surgical kits for cesarean sections, feeding tubes for neonatal intensive care units, drug-eluting cardiac stents, catheters, shunts and other implantable devices."Because the number of ethylene oxide contract sterilization facilities in the U.S. is limited, we are very concerned that additional facility closures could severely impact the supply of sterile medical devices to health care delivery organizations that depend on those devices to take care of patients," Sharpless said in an Oct. 25 statement. "The impact resulting from closure of these and perhaps more facilities will be difficult to reverse and ultimately could result in years of spot or nationwide shortages of critical medical devices, which could compromise patient care."FDA said the facilities cover sterlization for hundreds of products:Viant handled 46 different devices in Michigan.Sterigenics' Willowbrook, Ill., site handled 594 devices while another 402 are handled in Atlanta.Becton Dickinson sterlized 464 different devices in Covington, Ga.FDA began monitoring and raising concerns about the situation earlier this year. In February, the Illinois EPA ordered Sterigenics to stop sterilizing medical products at its Willowbrook, Ill., facility. The order caused a temporary shortage in April of silicone pediatric breathing tubes manufactured by Smiths Medical Inc.Sharpless said FDA helped the Minneapolis-based manufacturer change sterilization sites and minimize the supply interruption, but that's no solution going forward. About 50 percent of all medical devices require ethylene oxide sterilization before getting to patients, and there aren't enough facilities to do the work.Sterigenics announced Sept. 30 that its Willowbrook facility would not reopen. Meanwhile, the company's contract sterilization facility in Atlanta has been closed since August while it undergoes construction to reduce ethylene oxide emissions.Then, on Oct. 28, Becton, Dickinson and Co. agreed to temporarily shut down its medical sterilization facility in Covington, Ga., until Nov. 7. The company also agreed to take steps to reduce ethylene oxide emissions after it resumes operations."Although medical devices can be sterilized by several methods, ethylene oxide is the most common method of sterilization of medical devices in the U.S. and is a well-established and scientifically proven method of preventing harmful microorganisms from reproducing and causing infections," Sharpless said.Still, FDA is seeking alternatives. In July, the agency asked academic institutions, the medical device industry and other stakeholders to submit ideas for sterilization methods that don't use ethylene oxide as well as develop new strategies to reduce ethylene oxide emissions. Submissions were due Oct. 15.In the meantime, if the sterilization facility closures lead to any shortage for a critical medical device, the FDA may look for a firm outside the U.S. that is willing and able to redirect safe and effective product into the country, Sharpless said.FDA has set up a special email account — deviceshortages@fda.hhs.gov — for patients, manufacturers and health care organizations to report distribution delays of new products and anticipated shortages."It's never too early to contact us — the sooner we are aware of a potential shortage, the better we can assist in proactively developing a plan to mitigate its effects on patient care," Sharpless said.FDA also is asking hospitals and other health care organizations to work together and not hoard any products or attempt to buy larger quantities of devices beyond their normal purchase volumes.An FDA advisory committee is meeting Nov. 6 and 7 in Gaithersburg, Md., to discuss how best to encourage innovation in medical device sterilization.source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/fda-warns-medical-device-shortages
Editor 2019-11-25