Quadrant Plastic Composites (QPC) was earlier this week presented with the innovation award of the (AVK-TV: Reinforced Plastics Association – Technical Federation) in the Best Application of the Year category.
QPC won this award for the underbody shields of the BMW 1 and 3 models, which are manufactured using the new SymaLITE technology. The AVK-TV Innovation Award is one of the most prestigious engineering awards in Europe in the reinforced plastics field.
SymaLITE, developed in-house by QPC, is claimed to be an innovative, intelligent, lightweight reinforced thermoplastic composite material which is compression moulded under application of low moulding forces. Economical composite moulds enable up to four components to be produced, die-cut and laminated directly with sensitive decorative material without using adhesives, in a single moulding stroke. SymaLITE also enables components featuring different thicknesses to be produced: the degree of consolidation is smaller in the flat surface zones and greater in the edge zones and around attachment points, i.e. where the greatest forces are at work. Component manufacturer and systems supplier is Seeber AG & Co. KG, Mannheim.
The underbody shields of the BMW 1 and 3 models are light in weight due to their reduced density. Weight savings of some 30% were also achieved compared to conventional solutions as a result of using the new SymaLITE material concept, and the fully closed underfloor module makes the use of PVC for anti-corrosion protection unnecessary. The high rigidity of the material combined with its low weight have enabled the aerodynamics to be improved significantly, thus reducing fuel consumption by 5%. Acoustics have also been optimized by the semi-consolidated structure, which generates less noise in rain or from stone chips, and – in contrast to fully consolidated structures – absorbs noise.
«We are especially pleased to have won one of the most important European innovation awards with SymaLITE», commented Volker Fritz, CEO of Quadrant Plastic Composites. «This award underlines the company’s innovative thrust and the expertise of its personnel. In recent years QPC has invested with the future in mind, and we are now earning the benefits.»
The AVK-TV presents three innovation awards annually in the categories of «Promoting new industrial solutions», «Achievements in environmental protection» and «Promoting university work in the field of composites and thermosetting moulding compounds». The specification of requirements in the category «Application of the Year 2004» was «a new product ready for the market or a new, efficient manufacturing process». The product or process advance, the improvement in the cost/benefit ratio and the development of new markets were rated in this context.
«The AVK is proud that Quadrant Plastic Composites from Switzerland has received the award for the best innovation this year, since this company has been an innovative manufacturer for many years and is very well known on the market», stated Dr. U. Bültjer of AVK-TV in Frankfurt.
QPC already received the innovation award for the «Most Innovative Use of Plastics» presented by the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) in November 2003 for the underfloor modules of the BMW 5 and 6 models. SymaLITE is also used to produce these underfloor modules.
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