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SPE presents Grand Award to Smart Roadster for innovative roof module made with LEXAN® SLX Film
SPE presents Grand Award to Smart™ Roadster for innovative roof module made with LEXAN® SLX Film
Smart GmbH, a business unit of Daimler Chrysler AG, received the Grand Award for the LEXAN® SLX film roof module on their new Smarte Roadster at the 33rd Annual Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) International Innovation Awards Program held in Livonia, Mich. In addition, the module earned first place for body exterior innovation. The SPE Innovation Awards Program is the largest, and most prestigious engineering awards event of its kind, and is considered to be the auto industry's premier recognition event. Challenged to recognize “plastics super heroes that have broken the barriers of automotive plastics innovation,” SPE judges – a blue ribbon panel of automotive and industry experts, journalists, and analysts – selected the “paintless” LEXAN SLX film roof module as the “best of the best” from entries in five categories: body exterior, body interior, materials, power train and processing technology. “This is a great honor for our customer and for us,” said V. Umamaheswaran (UV), Global Industry Manager, GE Plastics Automotive. “The Smart Roadster roof module is a great example of how LEXAN SLX film can offer styling differentiation through a very high gloss, wet look, while reducing the weight of the roof system by up to 50 percent” (Plate 1).
Plate 1 Smarte Roadster
Other features of the LEXAN SLX film roof module that were cited by the awards committee include a Class A finish without paint, excellent gloss and color retention, and chemical and scratch resistance. This film also offers superior thermoforming characteristics. In addition, another high-performance GE thermoplastic- XENOY® PC/PBT resin – is used in the body panels aboard the smart Roadster to help reduce weight, lower cost and increase impact resistance. “We're very pleased to be recognized by the SPE for this application,” said John Carrington, Global Marketing Director, GE Plastics Automotive. “As a European vehicle, the Smart Roadster demonstrates our commitment to innovation by offering global customers the most advanced resin and application technology. This 'self-protecting' polymer can give automobiles of the future a long lasting, durable and attractive finish, while saving an estimated $300 to 400 million dollars of future investment for OEMs by eliminating the need to paint.”
LEXAN SLX resin hard top
The roof module of the new Smart Roadster consists of a three-layer, co-extruded LEXAN SLX film. This weatherable, polymeric film can produce class A molded-in color surfaces without the need for painting or clear coating. LEXAN SLX film can be applied over a variety of thermoplastic and thermoset substrates through an in-mold decoration process. This revolutionary film is the result of the ongoing R&D at GE Plastics for a weatherable polymer system designed to eliminate the need for paint shops and painting processes in automotive exterior applications.
LEXAN SLX film performance
Tests conducted by GE show that this hard-surface thermoplastic has the potential to withstand the rigors of both road conditions and car wash systems. When tested over 25,000kJ/m2 of Xenon arc, a test that is used as an equivalent to over 10 years of Florida exposure, LEXAN SLX film retained 95 percent of its gloss. When back-molded with a PC/PBT resin and subjected to various OEM paint specification tests, LEXAN SLX film was found in most cases to perform better or equal to exterior paint systems. Some of the more strikingly positive results were in tests on scratch resistance and resistance to automotive fluids and aggressive agents such as brake fluid and acid rain.
The hard top of the Smart Roadster consists of two halves. Both roof halves weigh only 5kg, respectively, and can be removed and stowed in the rear luggage compartment quickly and easily. The hard top is manufactured by ArvinMeritore Light Vehicle Systems in Gifhorn, Germany.
Smart GmbH was established in April 1994, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler Chrysler AG Innovative Group. The GE Plastics Automotive Application Development Center in Southfield, Mich., and the European Design Center in Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands, supply the world's leading automotive manufacturers and tier suppliers with an extensive line of high-performance engineering thermoplastics. Technical specialists assist customers with their concept generation and application development including performance prediction, processing simulation, feasibility and cost studies, advanced processing capabilities, system integration, and innovative automotive solutions. GE Plastics' affiliates, Polymer Solutions Inc. in the United States and GE Polymer Design Associates in Europe, can assist customers with a complete set of design and engineering services, or with helping customers find a solution to a specific task. This capability covers the full range of automotive disciplines – styling, engineering design, CAD, finite element analysis, model and prototyping, tooling, testing and project management.
For further information, please contact: Banu Kukner, GE Plastics Europe, Plasticslaan 1, 4600 AC Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 164 29 16 05; Fax: +31 164 29 10 66; E-mail: email@example.com