Ford, which uses aluminum alloys in bodies, continues to advance materials technology to reduce curb weight of pickup trucks.
The structural front-end module of the 2016 SuperDuty pickup features an all-composite design without metallic reinforcement. It’s described as the first active grille shutter (AGS)-capable, injection-molded LFT-PP front-end module (FEM) bolster used on a heavy-duty pickup platform.
The new design cuts three pounds of weight versus metal hybrid versions. Costs were cut $3 per unit.
Use of injection molding also allowed design improvements, such as functional component integration, allowing overall parts’ reduction. Ford says that locating features improve fit & finish and airflow, while meeting structural requirements for part deflections of <1mm on the 8,500-pound vehicle.
The long-fiber thermoplastic (LFT) is Celstran 40-20 black polypropylene (PP) from Celanese. The parts are made by Shape Corp., Grand Haven, Michigan.
The part is a finalist in the 46th annual SPE Automotive Innovation Awards competition. Winners will be announced Nov. 9 at Burton Manor in the suburbs of Detroit.
At K2016 held last month in Dusseldorf, Germany, Celanese introduced Celstran high flow LFT. The new high flow grades are said to allow thinner (1.0-1.5 mm thick walls), lighter, and more efficient components and parts.