The conference takes place Sept. 13-14 and is held in Essen, Germany in conjunction with the Composites Europe tradeshow (Sept. 14-16). Awards are given in the categories of industrial application, environmental impact and university/college/student research. Further information on the contest and contest submission forms are available here.
Last year's contest winners included five winners in four categories; picking the winners was tough, according to MPW's own Matt Defosse, who serves on the contest jury and helped whittle the list of more than 40 submissions to the few winners. He also notes that, in the past three to five years, an increasing number of the submissions are based on thermoplastic composites, whereas previously thermoset materials and processors were more prevalent. Some parts or projects maybe entered into more than one category, reflecting, for instance, composite's functional worth as well as its potential for metal replacement/lightweighting, which often means parts or components are more environmentally friendly.
Sharing the first prize in the industrial category were Volkswagen and the TU (Technical University) Dresden with the BMW Group. The environmental award was presented to DSM, while Aachen's Institute of Plastics Processing won in the academic category. A special award was given to Cpm composite products for the company's "SplashCar," an all-composite, all-terrain (including water) vehicle.
The prize to VW/TU Dresden was awarded for their work in the development of hybrid thermoplastic structures using local reinforcement of textile inserts, with these structures able to replace highly stressed metal elements. VW makes use of the development on a new seat shell that it compression molds; these weigh about 45% less than traditional steel seat shells.
BMW, the other first-prize winner in the industrial category, was recognized for its development of an injection molded transmission crossmember. Apart from functioning as a gearbox bearing, the transmission crossmember also contributes to the total vehicle rigidity, absorbing forces during a crash. The new plastics transmission crossmember is already being used in series for the new GT5 and is targeted for use in other vehicles as well. —[email protected]