Why Plastics are Transforming the Automotive Industry

Sixty years ago, nearly all the cars on our roads were made of steel, with hardly any plastic. Today, researchers supplying energy data to the US Government say the average car has around 120 kilograms of plastic on board. Automotive plastics are helping to improve safety, comfort and energy efficiency in all types of vehicles.

Plastic components weigh approximately 60% less than their steel counterparts and this makes vehicles more fuel efficient. For every 10% reduction in weight, there's a drop-in fuel usage by around 7%.

Here at Austraplas, we use a range of automotive plastics which meet and exceed the industry's regulated safety standards. Here are the top four high performance plastics used in the automotive sector today.

Polypropylene (PP)

Polypropylene is the most utilised plastic on a car. It has an incredibly high tolerance of heat as it doesn't melt until it reaches 160 degrees Celsius. This type of plastic is used on car bumpers, chemical tanks, cable insulations, interior trims, boot linings, carpet fibres and heat casings. It's resistant to many chemical solvents, bases and acids.

Poly-Vinyl-Chloride (PVC)

This plastic is also commonly known as PVC. It is flame retardant and has good thermal stability and virtually no lead content. It's also versatile to mould, can be extruded, injection moulded or blow moulded to form a variety of products which are either rigid or flexible. The durability of PVC has made it a first choice for the cladding of interior parts such as 'soft' dashboards and door panels which aim to reduce injury in a crash. Fabrics coated with PVC are used in life-saving vehicle air bags. It can also be used in the sheathing of cables, pipes and doors.

Polyamides (PA, Nylon 6/6, Nylon 6)

Polyamides are used extensively in the automotive industry. Nylon 6/6 is a general-purpose nylon which can be both moulded and extruded. It is extremely tough, hardwearing and rigid. It is used on gears, cams, bearings, bushes, engine covers and transmission cross beams. Air intake manifolds which were once made of metal are now fabricated with glass reinforced Polyamide 6. Substituting metal in the manifolds with nylon has reduced the weight part by 50% contributing to better fuel efficiency. Toyota were the first motor company to introduce plastic air intake manifolds in 1998.

Polystyrene (PS)

Both solid and foam polystyrene is used to make many car parts including knobs, instrument panels, energy absorbing door panels. It's also widely used in child protective seats. Naturally clear polystyrene has excellent chemical and electrical resistance and come in a variety of high gloss and high impact grades. Austraplas, which is based in Perth, can manufacture durable, hard wearing automotive plastics at highly competitive prices. Plastics are essential in the manufacture of many car parts and can be designed in any colour, shape and size. Why not give us a call today to find out more?

Contact Us

AUSTRAPLAS
6 Maclaglan Street
Cockburn Central
WA 6164
P: (08) 9417 4545
F: (08) 9417 2140
E: sales@austraplas.com.au
www.austraplas.com.au

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