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Composite Coil-Spring Technology Wins Major Industry Award
LIVONIA, Mich.—The Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE) 45th Annual Automotive Innovation Awards Program gave its top honor in the chassis/hardware category to the team that developed the first-ever composite coil spring for automotive production. Resin technology from Hexion Inc. was key to the breakthrough.
The development team, comprising Audi, S.ARA Composites (Sogefi Group), Owens Corning, and Hexion, was recognized for its collaboration on the epoxy glass fiber reinforced coil springs. It was the second major award for this application. In September, the team won the People’s Choice and Most Innovative Process Awards at the SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition in Novi, Michigan.
“A composite coil spring has been a longtime objective for the auto industry, and Hexion is pleased to have been part of the team to realize the technology,” said Francis Defoor, Hexion global market segment leader for transportation, in a release announcing the award. “These composite coil springs represent a weight savings of more than 40 percent compared with conventional steel springs.”
Hexion’s proprietary Epikote™ Epoxy Resin /Epikure™ Curing Agent epoxy resin system is used in a unique filament-winding process to make a “rope” that is coiled and cured around a recyclable core. The resulting part meets and exceeds the various strength and durability requirements of the OEM at a significant weight saving and overall value to the consumer.
“At a time when most of the easy victories in vehicle weight have been achieved, this is a significant breakthrough,” said Ann Frederix, senior vice president and general manager for Epoxy Specialty Resins at Hexion, in the release. “I’d like to compliment our Hexion scientists and engineers, and our partners.”
Hexion is continually refining its resin portfolio because of the industry’s need to improve performance and reduce vehicle weight, Frederix said.
Environmental and efficiency advancements come with the spring technology, too, along with improved ride performance and safety. The energy used to produce the spring is far less than for steel springs, and the number of manufacturing operations needed to produce the composite spring is reduced to seven, versus thirteen for steel. Independent automotive test drive journalists have given the technology favorable reviews.
Hexion Inc. (formerly known as Momentive Specialty Chemicals Inc.), a global provider of thermoset resins, serves the global wood and industrial markets through a broad range of thermoset technologies.
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