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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Plastics “Oscar” for novel composite
Plastics “Oscar” for novel composite
Keywords: Plastics, Composites, Awards
The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has presented this year's innovation award to Quadrant Plastic Composites.
In the presence of more than 800 invited guests from the USA and abroad at a ceremony in Detroit, the Automotive Division of the SPE presented this year's innovation award to Quadrant Plastic Composites. The SPE innovation award (“Most Innovative Use of Plastics”) is presented as the “Academy Award” of the plastics industry for new plastics applications, and since it was launched in 1970 it has been regarded as the most prestigious engineering award in the US automobile industry.
Quadrant received the award for its innovative achievements in the field of composite materials, in particular for the under- body structure of the new BMW Series 5 model using the new SymaLite technology. With the bumper liners for Renault's Magnum truck, Quadrant was also a finalist for admission to the “Hall of Fame”, an accolade awarded to major plastics applications already in use for more than 10 years. “As a medium-sized Swiss enterprise, we are especially pleased to be at the technological forefront in today's very dynamic and competitive automobile industry”, comments Dr Rene-Pierre Muller, Executive Member of the Board at Quadrant. “This has only been possible as a result of our targeted, industrially motivated acquisitions in the past, a corporate development strategy focused closely on the core business and the assembly of the right market and development team. All these elements are essential components of the sustained development of our industrial group. Winning this innovation award is important for our organisation, since all our employees have contributed to this process and can now reap the first fruits of their efforts”.
SymaLite, an in-house development by Quadrant Plastic Composites, is an innovative, intelligent, composite lightweight material based on polypropylene and three- dimensionally oriented glass fibres, which sets new standards in the industry, especially with regard to weight, rigidity, noise absorption and formability. The new material can be used in the automobile industry primarily for large-format, nonstructural components. Principal applications are under-body protection, head linings, loading surfaces or side door trim. SymaLite complements Quadrant Plastic Composites' existing product range, which already covers a growing spectrum of applications with GMT, GMTex, Slimtec and natural fibre composites. “Despite the recessionary environment we have not economised on investments that hold promise for the future. The presentation of this award underlines that our personnel have the expertise to maintain the momentum of our innovative thrust”, states Volker Fritz, CEO of Quadrant Plastic Composites. “Following the under-body development for the BMW Series 5, the automobile industry is very interested in further applications. A number of these are already at the serial development stage with production scheduled to start next year, while others will soon be going into the predevelopment phase.”
SymaLite certainly has the potential even to surpass our successful GMT line in terms of volume in the years to come. This is underlined by the fact that alternative materials are increasingly being used in automobile manufacturing, so that what is actually a saturated sector is becoming a growth market for Quadrant. The patented SymaLite technology is a product of synergy between GMT and nonwoven composites technology. The development of SymaLite technology was only possible because Quadrant succeeded in securing a global lead in glass mat thermoplastics (GMT) composite technology in recent years through determined and consistent efforts and at the same time obtained access to composite nonwovens through a targeted acquisition. Quadrant was nominated for a second SPE award in the category for major plastics applications already in long-term use. Since 1988, Renault's Magnum truck has, without interruption, been equipped with bumber liners manufactured by the French Inoplast company from Quadrant's GMT composite material. In addition to weight saving, this component's corrosion- resistance, long service life and good stone guard properties have also contributed to its sustained success.