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Celanese Corp. applies its materials and applications expertise to help automotive OEMs create attractive, lightweight and better-designed vehicles.

Clare Goldsberry

November 22, 2016

2 Min Read
How plastics improve vehicle appearance, weight and performance

As electric and hybrid vehicles become more common, and carmakers compete to attract buyers with better systems and designs, automakers are looking for materials suppliers with technical and applications expertise. Celanese Corp. (Irving, TX) says that it has precisely those resources to help automotive OEMs create attractive, lightweight and better-designed vehicles.

“Automakers answer to government regulators, investors and drivers around the world, who collectively never stop improving design, safety and performance, all while keeping costs down,” said Todd Elliott, Vice President of Material Solutions at Celanese. “As a result, many interior, exterior and under-hood components in cars and trucks are now made with plastic rather than metal, which helps fulfill regulatory and financial requirements while giving automakers the freedom to design for the future.”

Door modules made from Celstran.

Automotive OEMs, suppliers and molders worldwide use Celanese polymers as effective and less-expensive metal replacements for interior and exterior parts. Injection molded components typically allow designers and engineers the freedom to create high-performing, visually appealing vehicles while reducing manufacturing steps, said the company.

While lightweighting is an important factor, it’s appearance that first captures consumer imaginations. MetaLX molded-in color polymers with a metal effect allow designers and engineers the freedom to replace metal and improve both interior and exterior components while eliminating the need to perform secondary painting or plating operations. MetaLX polymers create high-gloss or matte finishes that are UV and scratch resistant and light in weight without sacrificing dimensional stability or mechanical properties, according to the company.

Polymer seating components, overhead bins and consoles are easier to mold into precise shapes and are stronger and less expensive to produce, while thermally conductive plastics in LED headlamps are lightweight and safer and allow for efficient, high-output lighting, said Celanese.

Celanese engineers apply their experience to help auto OEM designers and engineers think about how to design critical, multi-part, complex systems with chemical-resistant, dimensionally stable and lightweight materials. Many materials enable smaller engines to lower fuel consumption and emission levels, while other polymers facilitate higher flow, complex part manufacturing. As automakers address complex, thick-wall part systems, Celanese recently launched at K 2016 an innovative polymer, Celstran high-flow LFT, high mechanical profile, long-fiber thermoplastics that meet component design specifications.

“Drivers expect dazzling designs and superior performance at practical prices without compromising safety, durability or functionality. Manufacturers must meet these demands while also staying true to their goals,” said Elliott. “We’re our customers’ first choice for engineered materials because we fulfill their immediate needs but also inspire them to revolutionize how they design vehicles to stay ahead of regulations and driver demand—and get better vehicles to market first.”

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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