ElringKlinger AG has received the SPE Award (Society of Plastics Engineers) from the international Society for Plastics Engineering (SPE Central Europe). The company impressed the jury with its innovative front-end module carrier, which is used in a vehicle produced by US electric car manufacturer Lucid Motors.
This year, for the 20th time in total, SPE Central Europe awarded prizes for outstanding developments in plastic parts for vehicle construction. In the "Chassis unit/Structural component" category, ElringKlinger impressed the panel of 30 experts chaired by department coordinator Thilo Stier with an innovative front-end module carrier. The awards were presented to the most innovative plastic parts and components in a total of eight categories.
The front-end module support, which is manufactured in a hybrid design, can act as a support for the charge air cooler, the headlamp modules, the spray water tank, the horn, the distance radar module or the air intake. It also supports the hood by connecting hood latches.
Complex manufacturing process
"Receiving the "Oscar for Plastics", the SPE Award, makes us proud and is an excellent example of our exceptional machine, tooling, process and integration expertise. Lightweight construction is the key to the mobility of the future. The technology behind it paves the way for many new applications," says Klaus Bendl, Vice President Lightweight at ElringKlinger.
ElringKlinger manufactures the front-end module carrier using a single-shot injection molding process. In this process, pre-cut organic sheets are inserted into an injection mold, shaped and combined with several additional inserts, which are overmolded together to form a complex composite hybrid. Within this process, ElringKlinger has succeeded in minimizing the number of pre- and post-processing steps as well as costs, despite a total of 37 inserts.
"By using glass fiber-reinforced plastic and organic sheets, we reduce the overall weight of the component while maintaining a high level of rigidity. A classic example of "design follows loadcase." The extremely high level of functional integration in the injection molding process thus results in less assembly work and, consequently, lower labor costs," explains Bendl.
The front-end module carrier is used in the first electric vehicle model "Air" from the US car manufacturer Lucid Motors.