04 June 2013 17:28 [Source: ICIS news]
By Jeremy Pafford
Excitement over the prospects of increased use of engineered polymers such as polycarbonate (PC), nylon 6 and nylon 6,6 in
That exuberance was apparent in late May at the biennial Feiplastic exhibition in Sao Paulo, where a virtual who’s-who of automotive plastics producers had set up lavish booths to display their wares.
One presenter who came armed with a truckload of engineered auto parts and a wealth of statistics was Andreas Scheurell, LANXESS’ general manager of high-performance materials in
In 2005, the company’s sales in
About 3.4m cars/year are manufactured in Brazil and 800,000/year in Argentina, Scheurell said, and some 700 new cars hit the road every day in Sao Paulo state alone, an area with a population of more than 41m people.
“I always say my business is within 100 square kilometers – the state of
And there is much business to be had as the country looks to make its new vehicles more fuel efficient.
One of the ways of increasing fuel efficiency many manufacturers are looking at is by making vehicles lighter. Whereas that has been the trend across most of the world in recent years, it one that has not permeated into
“A typical front end as a structure of the car where you have the lamps and the radiator … This entire front structure here in
“In Europe, in
Steel, like most everything else, is not a cheap commodity in
But in 2012,
The new rules changed automakers’ questions on use of engineered plastics in vehicles produced in the country from “Why?” to “How?”, Scheurell said.
“Every [automaking customer] is coming to us and asking, ‘How can we do this?’” he said.
But government regulations are not the only driver in the move toward more automotive plastics. Brazilian customers are demanding more amenities in their vehicles – features that drivers in other parts of the world take for granted.
“The [Brazilian] consumer wants not one airbag or next year the mandated two airbags. The consumer wants four, six airbags,” Scheurell said. “The consumer wants safety features. The consumer wants air conditioning, automatic transmission, Bluetooth …”
In those features are a great deal of engineered plastics – and a lot of low-hanging fruit.Read Paul Hodges’ Chemicals and the Economy blog
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