TROY (DETROIT), MICH. – The 15th-annual SPE® TPO Automotive Engineered Polyolefins Conference, the world’s leading automotive engineered-polyolefins forum, will feature five keynote speakers, interspersed throughout the two-and-a-half-day conference, who will highlight important trends facing the automotive-plastics market, including mass and cost reduction, increased functionality, and consumer appeal.
Speakers from LMC Automotive, Chrysler Group LLC, International Automotive Components, Advanced Composites, Inc., and Borealis AG will help audience members better understand how thermoplastic polyolefins (TPOs), thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) and thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs) are Driving Value, Light Weight, & Innovative Automotive Solutions this year’s conference theme. Organized by the Detroit Section of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE®), this year’s event will be held at Troy Marriott in the Detroit suburbs from October 6-9, 2013.
On Monday morning, the conference will kick off with a keynote from Jeff Schuster, senior vice-president, LMC Automotive on the topic, Global Automotive Outlook What is in Store Beyond Uncertainty? Schuster explains, “The near-term automotive environment is mixed across the globe, as some markets are in full recovery mode and others have faltered. Uncertainty and risk have become permanent fixtures in automotive markets, and competitive pressures have greatly reduced the margin of error.
Despite this, optimism and prosperity have returned in some pockets.” Schuster adds that his talk will examine global demand and supply trends for both short and long term, as outlooks vary by region or market. He also says he will provide deep analysis of the North American market, including segment shifts, hybrid/electric vehicle (EV) activity, and trends in vehicle sourcing.
A second keynote by Klaus Busse, head of Interior Design at Chrysler Group LLC will immediately follow on the topic of Chrysler Group’s Journey to World Class Interiors. Busse notes that the journey began in 2005 when he and his team took on the task of improving vehicle interior quality at the company. “We took a back-to-basics approach to relearn the craft of designing and producing world-class interior quality at Chrysler Group,” says Busse. “Since plastics play a key role in both design and manufacturing of today’s auto interiors, one of our main objectives was to learn how to improve the perceived quality of plastic components.” Busse promises not only to provide insight into his team’s experiences along the way, but also some “surprising twists.”
On Day 2 of the conference, long-time conference committee member and session organizer, Dr. Rose Ryntz, senior director – Advanced Engineering / Material Development, International Automotive Components Group (IAC) will lead off with a talk entitled Olefinic Material Opportunities in Interior Automotive Applications. According to Ryntz, “Due to their low specific gravity and balance of impact and strength, demand for olefinic materials is continuing to increase for automotive-interior applications. Using these materials, designers can balance aesthetics, processability, craftsmanship, and weight for a broad range of applications – ranging from door panels to instrument panels and now specifically for acoustic mats.”
The author notes that her talk will cover use of novel materials, such as in-mold, grained coverstocks and fillers that boost stiffness without increasing the overall carbon footprint, plus will highlight the ways that olefin polymers can aid designers in reaching the best value / performance proposition for their application.
A second keynote will immediately follow by Mr. Seiji Oshima, president and CEO, Advanced Composites, Inc., whose topic is Global Challenges: Supporting OEM PP and TPO Strategies. Oshima will discuss the challenges facing a compounder of polypropylene (PP) and TPO materials when trying to grow globally and supply production locally, manage raw material supplies around the world, provide a sustainable global value proposition to meet demanding automotive requirements, and maintain global quality standards to meet OEM specifications. He also will discuss leveraging Advanced Composites’ parent company, Mitsui Petrochemical Industries Ltd.’s strength in catalysts and new polymer developments to build world-class global compounding operations.
The third day of the conference will again begin with a keynote talk – this from Thomas Wagner, global OEM manager at Borealis AG, who will discuss Innovations in TPOs for the Automotive Industry. “Automotive is one of the most innovative industries in the world,” says Wagner, “but, on the other hand, it is also an industry that is very reluctant to change and introduce new ideas.” He notes that certain outside influences will be driving the “innovation wheel” even faster in the future.
He adds, “Government authorities release new rules for CO2 emissions, but at the same time, the economy stays sluggish. This forces all parts of the automotive value chain to innovate and bring improvements to their products.” Wagner promises to discuss near- and long-term fields of interest as well as innovation trends and triggers, plus which fields of innovation can be opened.
About the SPE TPO Automotive Engineered Polyolefins Conference
Since 1998, the SPE TPO Automotive Engineered Polyolefins Conference has highlighted the importance of rigid and flexible polyolefins throughout the automobile – in applications ranging from semi-structural composite underbody shields and front-end modules to soft-touch interior skins and bumper fascia. Engineered polyolefins have been the fastest-growing segment of the global plastics industry for more than a decade owing to their excellent cost / performance ratio.
The show typically draws over 500 attendees from 20 countries on four continents who are interested in learning about the latest in rigid and elastomeric TPO as well as TPE and TPV technologies. Fully a third of conference attendees say they work for a transportation OEM, and roughly 20% work for a tier integrator / molder, with the balance from materials or reinforcement suppliers, equipment OEMs, industry consultants, and members of academia. This year’s conference returns to the Troy Marriott in the Detroit suburbs. A variety of sponsorship packages are available for companies interested in showcasing their products and / or services.
The mission of the Society of Plastics Engineers is to promote scientific and engineering knowledge relating to plastics worldwide and to educate industry, academia, and the public about these advances. SPE’s Detroit Section is active in educating, promoting, recognizing, and communicating technical accomplishments for all phases of plastics and plastic based-composite developments – particularly in the automotive industry. Topic areas include applications, materials, processing, equipment, tooling, design, and development.
For more information about the SPE TPO Automotive Engineered Polyolefins Conference, to view the conference’s evolving technical program, or to register to attend the event, please visit http://auto-tpo.com/ or http://speautomotive.com/tpo.htm,For more information on the Society of Plastics Engineers or other SPE events, visit the SPE website at www.4spe.org,