Carbon emissions from plastic automotive parts can be slashed with a new data-driven testing solution from Hexagon and SPC Europe
Carbon emissions from plastic used in the automotive industry can be reduced by up to 60 per cent with a new solution that provides behavioural data about sustainable compounds to accelerate the adoption of reduced-carbon materials.
Limited data on material behaviour is currently a barrier to sustainable eMobility vehicles as automotive engineering teams have been unable to put new materials through rigorous virtual durability and safety tests. The partnership between Hexagon and Sumika will provide carmakers with data to enable them to lower the carbon footprint of automotive parts without compromising on performance.
The new solution from Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division and Sumika Polymer Compounds Europe (SPC Europe) digitises the performance of new sustainable automotive-grade polypropylene (PP) compounds, enabling engineers to design components that are more recyclable and offer a lower carbon footprint for future vehicles.
Sumika Polymer Compounds’ short glass-fibre polypropylene (GF-PP) THERMOFIL HP and recycled polypropylene (GF-rPP) THERMOFIL CIRCLE materials benefit from sustainable manufacturing and recycling processes and offer carmakers performance equivalent to incumbent engineering plastics, but with an up to 60 per cent lower carbon footprint. A growing proportion of today’s PP components are recovered and recycled compared to polyamides (PA), of which up to 70 per cent are utilised in waste-to-energy initiatives or finish up in landfill, but there remains room for improvement. These new Sumika recycled PP compounds are designed for the circular economy, contributing to plastic waste reduction at vehicle end-of-life.
Plastics can contribute up to 20 per cent of the total weight of a car, and their use is escalating with continuing replacement of metals. The industry’s shift to eMobility has increased the need for lightweight components to maximise energy efficiency of vehicles and mitigate the weight of battery packs, but their environmental performance throughout the lifecycle must also be considered by product development teams.
“Limited material behaviour data is a barrier to sustainable eMobility innovations because automotive engineering teams have not been able to put new materials through the rigorous virtual durability and safety tests required for automotive endorsement,” said Guillaume Boisot, head of the Materials Centre of Excellence at Hexagon. “Our multiscale material modelling technology accelerates the adoption of SPC Europe’s ground-breaking recycled materials by making it possible for product development teams to accurately simulate a component and subject it to established automotive engineering test and validation.”
This vital engineering data provides product development teams with the ability to evaluate suitability of GF-PP compounds in new designs to address carbon-neutral targets by replacing traditional engineering plastics.
“Our THERMOFIL short glass-fibre reinforced polypropylene compounds offer equivalent performance to traditional engineering plastics while providing a much lower carbon footprint, which makes them highly suitable to meet design challenges that sustainable eMobility brings,” said Bruno Pendélio, marketing manager for SPC Europe. “Combining our efforts with Hexagon allows us to support the race towards carbon neutrality by further lightweighting our customers’ automotive components, reducing physical material testing and prototyping.”
The encrypted proprietary material models can be accessed by SPC Europe customers through Hexagon’s Digimat software that is interoperable with popular computer-aided engineering software tools and third-party software, empowering engineers to perform accurate analyses using established digital engineering workflows.