The Advantages of Plastics in Automotives
Plastics are known to reduce costs and boost efficiency in a number of industries, with their countless applications and advantages. One of the industries that continues to be aided by the use of plastics—and by the consistent innovations—is the auto industry.
According to the latest industry reports, recent auto sales in the U.S. have given way to higher profitability than pre-recession levels. The global auto industry is doing very well. This, of course, is the result of many factors, one being the distinct advantages seen by using plastics. The plastics that are used to make cars have contributed to more energy efficiency, mainly due to weight reduction, along with corrosion resistance, design flexibility, durability, and higher performance at lower costs. This all leads to better cars at lower prices, and higher sales.
Plastics have actually been used in cars since the 1950s, but it’s the latest innovations that are really changing the industry for the better. Engineered polymers and plastics are continuing to replace aluminum and other metals in automobiles, with the average car interior now being made up of over 50% plastics. Over 1,000 different car parts are now made of plastics, and these plastics can be molded together to replace the need for multiple parts, keeping manufacturing efficient and weight down.
In the car’s exterior, plastics are used anywhere from the body panels to the bumpers, reducing the overall weight without affecting the safety or performance of the vehicle. Additionally, new technology has created ultra lightweight wheel trims and other components that reduce weight and not only keep costs down, but by lowering the center of gravity, enhance safety and improve performance.
As the improvements continue and lead to even better sales, many believe this is great for our overall economy. In a recent in article in Plastics News, plastics economist Bill woods states “I think the fundamentals point to continued growth…[and] continued increases in employment.” This could make the U.S. “a manufacturing powerhouse and an export machine.”
Better, safer vehicles, better energy efficiency, higher employment, and increased exports…it seems the benefits of plastics in automotives are truly significant.