Plastics Manufacturing And The Automotive Industry
When you think of a car, your first thought probably isn’t “plastic”, but maybe it should be. If you stop and think about it, your car probably contains a lot more plastic than you’ve ever realized. Over the last few decades, the use of injection molded plastics in vehicles has revolutionized the automotive industry.
Automotive manufacturers originally started using plastic components more because of their excellent appearance and quality mechanical properties. Today, the use of molded plastics continues to be prevalent in the automotive industry for several reasons. Molded plastics lower cost, reduce weight, offer versatility, and perform well. They are now commonly used throughout the structure of a vehicle, including parts such as hoods, bumpers, headlights, dashboards, grilles, doors, windows, and more.
The use of injection molded plastics in a vehicle’s design enhances its fuel efficiency. Because the use of plastics ultimately results in a more lightweight vehicle, energy consumption and emissions are reduced. On average, 50% of a vehicle’s volume is made up of plastic, yet only 8 – 10% of its weight is attributed to that plastic. Automakers continue to look for creative ways that they can use plastic in place of other materials in the design process.
The ability to produce plastics in a wide variety of appearances, colours, and textures has made them an irreplaceable part of automotive design. The injecting molding process results in a high-quality product, known for its exceptional surface finish. This gives automakers the options that they want and need to furnish their vehicles with the exact style and feel that their customers want.
The environmental harm of the automotive industry is reduced through the use of injection molded plastics. Custom injection molding is a process that uses up to 99% of its scrap, with several products being made from recycled materials. This is valuable for automobile manufacturers who strive to reduce their ecological footprint and meet the ever-increasing standards for greener production.
Plastics allow automobile manufacturers to take innovative measures that continue to enhance style, comfort, safety, and fuel efficiency. In such a competitive industry, automakers can utilize molded plastics to meet their customers’ expectations of quality and design, while also striving to keep costs low.
Below we’ll list a few examples of specific applications of plastics in automobiles.