Deborah Austin Automotive-plastics players are launching an ambitious vision to establish plastics as the design material of choice in all major automotive components and systems by 2020, states the newly released "Plastics in Automotive Markets: Vision and Technology Roadmap," developed by the American Plastics Council (APC). The APC, a national trade organization representing 24 major U.S. resin producers, will pursue a business strategy with four elements:
New applications for plastics -- developing a portfolio of polymer-based material options and related tools; maximizing performance advantages for conventional vehicle platforms; designing new plastic-unique architectures.
Speed to market -- shortening design/development/engineering cycles to speed new polymer-based applications to commercial market; providing reliable tools to predict material performance.
Enabling infrastructure -- building a plastics-based manufacturing/supply infrastructure that outperforms conventional systems; developing competitive manufacturing platforms and a sound business case for plastics-intensive design; supporting related education/training.
Sustainable transportation -- leveraging environmental advantages such as energy efficiency and recyclability. U.S. automotive-plastics use has grown from an average 60 pounds per vehicle in 1970 to 240 pounds today, says the Arlington, Va.-based APC.