Indian auto manufacturers, who are generally weak on new technology, are beginning to adopt more advanced plastics molding approaches.
Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) is now injection molding
plastic fenders on the new XUV500 sports utility vehicle (SUV). Previously, the fenders were made of steel. The plastic is online paintable Noryl GTX from Sabic Innovative Plastics. Advantages of the plastic include weight savings, greater design freedom, and enhanced resistance against minor impact.
One of the design embellishments is flared fenders with accentuated curves and bold lines to enhance a “cheetah-like” look. Noryl reduced the fender weight by 0.9 kg (1.98 lbs.) – a weight savings of 27%.
M&M’s Tier One partner Plastics Optimum chose Noryl GTX because of its toughness, high temperature resistance, inherent conductivity (avoids requirement for conductive primer) and high flow performance. Noryl GTX is a blend of polyamide (PA) and modified polyphenylene ether (MPPE) polymer.
Sabic Innovative Plastics (then GE Plastics) was an early developer of plastics for automotive exterior applications. The road was slowed by problems mating steel and plastic parts in early GM Saturn models, as detailed by Bob Lutz in his book: “Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business.”
New conductive grades with improved coefficient of thermal expansion (by 20 to 40% vs. previous grades) were launched in 2010.