Lightweighting strategies focus at inaugural automotive conference in Cleveland

If you’ve an interest in automotive materials, then mark your calendars down for March 29–30 at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, OH. The venue will host UBM’s inaugural Automotive Conference—Lightweighting Strategy & Drivetrain Efficiency for All Supplier Tiers & OEMsalong with the debut of UBM’s Advanced Design and Manufacturing show in Ohio, incorporating PLASTEC and Pack. UBM is the parent company of PlasticsToday.

Kicking off the conference on day one will be James Tamm, Chief of Fuel Economy Division, Office of Rulemaking, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), who will present Regulatory Updates on NHTSA’s 54.5-mpg CAFE Mandate. Expect to learn more here on whether the mandate will proceed in its current form, or be delayed and/or relaxed. Attendees can also learn about footprint credits and other carrying capacity point systems, as well as the key to maintaining a competitive edge while preparing to meet the 54.5 mpg CAFE standard.

The automotive supply chain has a new rendezvous. UBM’s newest design and manufacturing trade show and conference debuts in Cleveland, OH, on March 29 and 30, 2017. On one show floor, Advanced Design & Manufacturing (ADM) Cleveland showcases five zones—packaging, automation and robotics, design and manufacturing, plastics and medical manufacturing. Hundreds of suppliers and numerous conference sessions offer sourcing and educational opportunities targeted to the automotive and other key industry sectors. Go to the PLASTEC Cleveland website to learn more and to register to attend.


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Tier I parts supplier Johnson Controls will be represented by Scott Morehouse, Manager Prototype and Process Development, who will speak on Designing with High-Performance Materials to Maximize Drivetrain Efficiency & Optimize Fuel Economy. Potential topics to be covered here include mild hybrid vs. plug-in vs. conventional hybrid vs. start-stop technology. Johnson Controls is a leading supplier of start-stop batteries.

The afternoon session will also include a paper from Sujit Das, Senior Research & Development Staff, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) looking at Innovation in Engineered Plastics, Carbon Fiber & Composites. ORNL has been at the forefront of developing cost-effective production technology for carbon fiber which will be shortly deployed on a commercial basis by LeMond Composites.

Polypropylene has been employed in automotive applications for many years but in recent years, it has been making inroads into engineered applications using composites based on carbon fiber and other reinforcements. Frank Henning, Director of the Fraunhofer Project Center, Composites Research, at Ontario’s Western University will update conference attendees on the latest developments in this field.

Rounding out Day 1 of the conference is a presentation from Paul Hardy, Engineering Plastics Manager at compounder Schulman on Leading Industry Strategies for Lightweighting & Fuel Efficiency. Within his presentation, Hardy will detail case studies illustrating weight reduction in terms of materials used, materials eliminated, and relative impact on fuel efficiency.

Highlights on Day 2 (March 30) include Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing Using Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) for Automotive Applications presented by Alex Roschli, 3D Printing Engineer, at ORNL. Among topics to be discussed are the first 3D printing solutions for thermoplastic composites (including graphene, carbon fiber, and glass fiber-based materials) and the latest additive manufacturing technologies for producing cost-effective, lightweight-structured components.

Another 3D-focused presentation will come from Subir Roy, PhD, Senior Technical Director of Manufacturing, Altair USA, who will cover such areas as lightweighting through 3D printing and its impact on other aspects of manufacturing, effective use of composite materials in both traditional manufacturing and additive manufacturing, and a cost-benefit analysis of steel, aluminum, magnesium, metals, composites, and other materials.

In fact, it’s not all plastics at the Automotive Conference. If you are a plastics converter, it would be in your best interests to keep abreast of developments in alternative materials such as high-strength steel and aluminum. The organizer UBM looks forward to meeting you at the conference and co-located show at the end of March.

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