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Continental Structural Plastics’ Space-Age Material Continues to Receive Industry Accolades

TCA Ultra Lite™ earns the 2015 SPE Grand Award

Auburn Hills, Michigan –November 16, 2015 — For the second time in three weeks, Continental Structural Plastics’ TCA Ultra Lite material has been recognized by the composites industry for innovation, winning the Materials category and receiving  the Grand Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers at last week’s 2015 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards event.

csp wide angle plant floor
The North Baltimore, Ohio Plant: a wide-angle view of the plant floor.

The Grand Award is presented to the year’s most innovative use of plastics. In late October, the 2015 CAMX Steering Committee awarded CSP its Unsurpassed Innovation Award at the CAMX Expo in Dallas, Texas.  TCA Ultra Lite is a revolutionary, 1.2 specific gravity material that offers as much as a 40 percent weight savings over standard density advanced composite materials.  It is currently in production on the major body panels of the 2016 Chevrolet C7 Corvette.

“When we launched TCA Ultra Lite last fall, we knew it would be a game-changer for the composites industry, but we had to prove that it could withstand e-coat and paint oven processes,” explained Frank Macher, chairman and CEO of Continental Structural Plastics. “Now that it is in production on the Corvette and accepted as an approved material by several OEMs, the industry is taking note. TCA Ultra Lite truly is a cost-competitive alternative to aluminum. It’s just as light, and brings all of the benefits that come with using a composite instead of a metal.”

The SPE Automotive Innovation Awards involve several phases. During the competition phase, dozens of teams made up of OEMs, suppliers and consultants work for months to hone submission forms and presentations describing their part, system, or complete vehicle module and why it merits the claim as the year’s “Most Innovative Use of Plastics.” Following this, teams must survive a pre-competition review and two rounds of presentations before industry and media judges. To win the Grand Award, CSP’s TCA Ultra Lite beat out more than 30 award finalists.

TCA Ultra Lite = Lighter, Stronger Parts

Because there is no degradation of mechanical properties, lighter parts molded with TCA Ultra Lite do not have to be made thicker, or incorporate structural reinforcements, to maintain the  desired performance qualities. Specifically, Ultra Lite technology uses treated glass bubbles to  replace Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), allowing the resin to adhere to the matrix and increase  the interfacial strength between the bubble and the resin. This is a patented treatment technology that results in a more robust resin mix that makes molded parts more resistant to handling damage, and prevents the micro-cracks that cause paint pops, pits and blistering.

TCA Ultra Lite offers automakers an opportunity to achieve a Class A finish with a material that is resistant to corrosion, dents and dings, ultimately providing the consumer with a vehicle that doesn’t rust, and won’t be subject to the scratches and dings that mar the surface of any vehicle panel made of metal. In addition, TCA Ultra Lite provides the benefits that come with using a composite over a metal, including significantly reduced tooling costs (50 percent or more, depending on production volumes) and the ability to achieve unique design cues such as deep draws that can’t be achieved with a stamped metal.

About the SPE Innovation Awards

Since 1970, the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition has highlighted the positive changes that polymeric materials have brought to the automotive and ground-transportation industries, such as weight and cost reduction, parts consolidation, increased safety, and enhanced aesthetics and design freedom. At the time the competition started, many OEM designers and engineers thought of plastics as inexpensive replacements for more “traditional” materials. To help communicate that plastics were capable of far more functionality than their typical use as decorative knobs and ashtrays indicated, members of SPE’s Automotive Division board of directors created the competition to recognize successful and innovative plastics applications and to communicate their benefits to OEMs, media and the public.

About Continental Structural Plastics

For more than 40 years, Continental Structural Plastics has provided leading-edge technologies in lightweight materials and composite solutions for the automotive, heavy truck, HVAC and construction industries. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, CSP provides full-service engineering support, and holds more than 50 patents covering materials development and manufacturing processes in composite materials formulation, design and manufacturing technologies.  For more information, visitwww.cspplastics.com.

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