Fenders molded from recycled engineering plastics
Marking a new milestone in its 25-year relationship developing thermoplastic fenders with Renault S.A., Sabic’s Innovative Plastics (Bergen Op Zoom, The Netherlands) business today announced that the French automaker has successfully adopted a new post-industrial recycled (PIR) grade of Noryl GTX resin, a conductive blend of polyamide (PA) and modified polyphenylene ether (PPE), as part of its ongoing drive to comply with the European Union’s end-of-life vehicle (ELV) requirements.
The OEM adopted the new Sabic material for the fenders of its 2013 Clio IV and will expand the resin’s use to the upcoming Zoe electric vehicle. The PIR grade meets quality and performance standards and further enhances the sustainability benefits of Noryl GTX resin for automotive fenders, which include a weight reduction and up to 47 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions over the lifecycle of the fender compared to steel according to the supplier.
Renault started its ICARRE 95 project in 2010 to review technical solutions to meet the requirements in Directive 2000/53/EC on the elimination of end-of-life vehicles. ICARRE, which stands for Innovative CAR REcycling +95%, is targeting a 95 percent recovery rate for ELV materials. Use of the PIR Noryl GTX grade is an important step to help Renault advance toward this target.
“Renault’s vision and innovation have played a leading role in the mainstream adoption of plastic fenders to achieve key automotive industry goals of enhanced sustainability and design freedom,” said Leon Jacobs, Automotive leader, Europe, Innovative Plastics. “The company’s use of Noryl GTX resin over 25 years has conclusively demonstrated that lightweight thermoplastic body panels made from the product are a viable, proven, production-capable solution. Now, with next-generation Sabic materials that use recycled body panels, Renault can continue to raise the bar in automotive innovation.”
To support Renault in the development of the new PIR fenders, Sabic provided a wide range of technical services, including defining and validating the molding conditions, using predictive tools to optimize the fender design and processes, testing application requirements such as impact and dimensional stability, and supporting production processes including online painting and assembly.
Renault has designed more vehicles with fenders molded from Noryl GTX resin than any other automaker. Models include the Twingo, Clio, Kangoo, Scenic, Megane, Laguna, Espace, Wind and Modus. The automaker began development of plastic fenders in 1985 and launched its first in 1989 on the Clio 16S.
Building on its recent success with PIR material, Renault is collaborating with Sabic to develop a closed loop system in which the OEM will harvest the thermoplastic material of fenders from end-of-life vehicles for the production of fenders for new cars. The aim is for Renault to use a post-consumer recycled grade of Noryl GTX resin, a material already in the validation stage, for select vehicles.