Auto Body Exterior

Today's plastics have revolutionized the design of auto body exteriors. From bumpers to door panels, light weight plastic gives cars better gas mileage and allows designers and engineers the freedom to create innovative concepts that otherwise would never be possible. Traditionally, metal alloys were synonomous with auto body exterior design and manufacturing. However, metal alloys are susceptible to dents, dings, stone chips and corrosion. They are also heavier and more expensive than plastic. Choosing plastics for auto body exterior parts allows manufacturers to adopt modular assembly practices, lower production costs, improve energy management, achieve better dent resistance, and use advanced styling techniques for sleeker, more aerodynamic exteriors. 

Automobile design engineers face many constrictions when designing with metal. Low-cost, single-unit production of large automobile sections, such as a front grille, is nearly impossible when using metal. Plastic offers auto engineers a variety of practical, cost-effective alternatives, as well as tremendous advantages over traditional automobile production materials.

Plastics allow auto engineers to have greater freedom in styling, building, and placing components, and give them the opportunity to combine several complex parts into a single, integrated piece. Plastics make this possible, while lowering manufacturing costs.

New processes enable manufacturers to reuse scrap plastic and recycle used plastic cost-effectively. Also, plastic components weigh approximately 50 percent less than their steel counterparts. This enables automobile components to be substantially lighter, while retaining needed strength, and contributes to an overall lighter vehicle and therefore fewer emissions and improved gas mileage. Better gas mileage helps us responsibly manage natural resources such as gasoline, while reducing emissions released into the environment. This benefits us all. 

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Images provided by the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers International (SPE), a not-for-profit engineering society.

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