Transatlantic Transitions: Plastics Crossover From Europe To America
Although the world is arguably a smaller place today, it still seems as though things are done somewhat differently-at least initially-in Europe than in the US. Take the utilization of plastic for intake manifolds, for example. According to John M. Ferrighetto, Business Manager-Americas, DuPont Automotive (Troy, MI), "Polymeric air intake manifolds began in Europe in the mid to late '70s." In the US, they didn't start showing up in sizeable quantities until the early 1990s. Ferrighetto says that DuPont data show that right now, about 65% of the air intake manifolds on passenger vehicles are made with plastic, nylon 66 primarily, with some nylon 6. "By 2004, our data suggests we'll have a relatively penetrated market here in the US." He's talking about as many as 95% of the intake manifolds being produced with plastic. As for the remaining 5%, he believes that there will be exceptions such as applications where there are extreme heat requirements or small volumes that don't necessarily justify doing retooling from metal to plastic. Here's an example of a complex glass-reinforced nylon 66 active manifold for a V6 engine. The manifold is for Rover-it's the company's first plastic intake system for a V6-and is produced by mann+hummel with DuPont Zytel 70G35HSL.
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