Tokyo Motor Show 2017: Plastics utilized for autonomous driving and electric vehicle components

Plastic parts and materials exhibited were designed for specific applications

2017/12/06

Summary

  The 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017, with the theme of "BEYOND THE MOTOR", was held from October 25to November 5, 2017 at Tokyo's Big Sight exhibition center. The exhibition was considered a great success. According to the event organizer, the number of visitors totaled 771,200 (the previous exhibition was 812,500).

  The latest trend in the automotive industry has been the accelerated shift to vehicle electrification and autonomous driving technologies. Technological advances in these areas depend upon similar advances in the technologies used in automotive components such as sensors, cameras, control devices, and inverters. For electric vehicles with large capacity battery requirements, the need for additional weight savings is expected to continue to increase as more components are installed in the vehicle. The increased use of plastic components is expected to serve as an effective solution to reduce the weight of the vehicle.


  This report covers a number of key products exhibited by parts suppliers that are gaining attention in the industry such as plastic parts, and was written in cooperation with Mr. Takeo Yasuda, Director of the Yasuda Polymer Research Institute. Although there were fewer plastic-related new topics at the Tokyo Motor Show compared to a plastics Technology Expo, the latest automotive parts were exhibited, mainly related to vehicle electrification and autonomous driving. This report will focus on introducing trends in engineering plastics technology for the two topics.

Toyoda Gosei's product
lineup
Toyoda Gosei's product lineup
Using plastics for electric vehicle and peripheral engine components

Related reports:
JSAE Exposition 2017: Leading resin material makers (August 2017)
JSAE Exposition 2017: Exhibitions of resin molding processing technologies (August 2017)

Tokyo Motor Show 2017 related reports:
Toyota unveils numerous concept vehicles (November 2017)
Exhibits from Nissan, Honda, and Mitsubishi (December 2017)
Exhibitions from Bosch, Denso, Aisin, and Mitsubishi Electric (November 2017)
EV systems and other electrification technologies (December 2017)

 



EV systems/engine components/fuel tanks: Mahle, Schaeffler, Keihin, Yachiyo Industry, etc.

Mahle: High voltage PTC (positive temperature coefficient) heater

  While heating is accomplished with high-temperature coolant heated with engine waste heat in vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine, a PTC heater is used for EVs because EVs do not have such a heat source. PA66-GF30 is used to make the heater body because of its excellent heat resistance, while PBT-GF30 is used for the side panels of the control board because of its excellent balance of physical properties including its electrical characteristics.

  • PA66: Polyamide 66
  • GF: Glass fiber
  • PBT: Polybutylene terephthalate
High
voltage PTC heater Resin
products for engine room
High voltage PTC heater Plastic products for engine room

Schaeffler: Thermal management module


  Schaeffler's thermal management module is used to control the temperature for cylinder heads, cylinder blocks, engine and transmission oils, the passenger cabin, etc. The housing is made of PPS, which has good resistance characteristics, including heat resistance and chemical resistance (LLC: Long Life Coolant resistance).

  Other peripheral engine parts made of PA materials that Schaeffler has designed for German applications were also exhibited at the company's booth.

  • PPS: Poly phenylene sulfide
  • PA: Polyamide
Thermal management module Using
PA materials for engine peripheral parts
Thermal management module Using PA materials for engine peripheral parts

Keihin: Intake module


  The product modularizes the intake manifold, injector, and throttle body and is made of PPA (PA6T). PPA was used for its excellent heat resistance, chemical resistance, and mechanical properties.

  • PPA: Polyphthalamide  (PA6T: Polyamide 6T)

  In addition to engine room components, plastic products, including an HVAC unit were displayed at the company's booth.

Intake module HVAC
unit
Intake module HVAC unit
Display Panel

Mikuni: Coolant control valve

  Mikuni's valve attempts to reduce warm-up time, improve combustion, reduce friction / cooling loss, increase fuel efficiency, and improve emissions performance by optimally controlling multiple cooling water flow paths in the engine with a single unit. The housing is made of PPA (probably PA6T), which has good resistance characteristics against heat, hot water, and LLC (long life coolant).

  • PPA: Polyphthalamide (PA6T: Polyamide 6T)
Coolant control valve
Coolant control valve

Nippon Thermostat: Resin housing integrated thermostat for FCV, motor control valve


  The plastic integrated thermostat for FCVs is used to control the temperature of the FC stacks. It adjusts the following 1) and 2) to optimize control of the FC stacks.
  1) Cooling when the temperature of the stacks increases due to heat generated by the chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen
  2) Adjusting to the appropriate temperature as power distribution efficiency declines when the stack temperature drops too low

  The housing is made of PPS, taking advantage of its material properties, including heat and hot water resistance.

  • PPS: Polyphenylene sulfide

  By optimizing control of the engine water temperature and the amount of water distributed to the various pipes, and depending on the operating environment of the engine, the motor control valve improves fuel efficiency by reducing engine warm-up time, reducing mechanical loss, and improving combustion efficiency. The housing of the motor control valve is also made of PPS.

Resin
housing integrated thermostat for FCV Motor
control valve
Resin housing integrated thermostat for FCV Motor control valve

Yachiyo Industry: Fuel tank for HVs


  The fuel tank is made of a composite material of HDPE and EVOH plastic. Yachiyo Industry utilizes plastic insert molding technology to attach valves to the inside of the tank, reducing the number of openings and decreasing fuel transpiration.
  The sound of gasoline movement in the fuel tank can create an unpleasant sound in vehicles such as HVs that are very quiet. The noise created by the movement of gasoline in the fuel tank is reduced by the use of the plastic insert molding technology.

  • HDPE: High Density Polyethylene
  • EVOH: Ethylene-vinylalcohol copolymer
HV用燃料タンク 燃料タンクのラインナップ
Fuel tank for HV
Installed in the Honda Odyssey North America model
Display Panel
Fuel tank lineup
Display panel: fuel tank for PHEV (development)

Toyoda Gosei: Hydrogen tank liner for FCV


  PA is used for the tank liner for its property to act as a hydrogen barrier. The tank liner is constructed by the welding of multiple injection molded parts.

  • PA: Polyamide

  In addition, Toyoda Gosei introduced its product lineup which included engine room parts such as turbo ducts.

Hydrogen tank liner for FCV Engine room
Hydrogen tank liner for FCV
(Product on the left in the photo above)
Display Panel
Engine room
Turbo duct

Tokyo Roki: Water level sensor, fuel filter

  Tokyo Roki introduced a product lineup that included plastic engine room components such as intake manifolds.


  PPS is used for the water level sensor in Honda's FCV. The water level sensor is installed in the fuel stack, where the hot water resistance of PPS is suitable.

  • PPS: Polyphenylene sulfide

  The fuel filter is a part installed near the engine of Hino trucks. PPS is used for the upper part of the fuel filter which is superior in terms of heat and chemical resistance.

Product lineup
Product lineup

Water
level sensor Fuel
filter
Water level sensor Fuel filter

NGK Spark Plug: Hydrogen leak detection sensor

  Vehicle safety regulations require that a hydrogen leak detection sensor be installed near the hydrogen tank in an FCV to detect hydrogen leakage. This is required because a leakage may directly lead to a fire accident, as hydrogen gas is highly combustible with tank pressure as high as 70 MPa. The sensor housing is assumed to be made of PBT.

  • PBT: Polybutylene terephthalate
Hydrogen leak detection
sensor
Hydrogen leak detection sensor


Shock absorber/brake system: KYB, Aisin, HKT, NTN

KYB: Next-generation lightweight strut type shock absorber

  The shock absorber housing and bracket have a uni-body construction made of injection molded high strength CFRTP (PA base). CFRP is also adopted for the piston rod which conventionally has been made of metal. Weight reduction is achieved by plasticizing metal parts.

  • CFRTP: Carbon fiber reinforced thermo plastics
  • CFRP: Carbon fiber reinforced plastics
  • PA: Polyamide
Next-generation
lightweight strut type shock absorber
Next-generation lightweight strut type shock absorber

Aisin: Electronically controlled brake system

  Aisin exhibited its electronically controlled brake systems for HVs and EVs. The engineering plastics used are most likely PBT or PC for the black cover and the brake oil reservoir tank is likely made of PA. PBT and PC have excellent electrical characteristics; in particular, PA has excellent chemical resistance.

  • PBT: Polybutylene terephthalate
  • PC: Polycarbonate
  • PA: Polyamide
Electronically controlled
brake system
Electronically controlled brake system

HKT: Solenoid valve

  Solenoid valves are used in various controls for heavy truck and bus brake systems, engines, suspensions, transmissions, etc. The housing is made of SPS, which was adopted due to its advantages of heat resistance, moldability, weight reduction, and low cost.

  • SPS: Syndiotactic polystyrene
Solenoid valve
Solenoid valve

NTN: Electric motor actuator

  A direct-acting electric actuator is used in combination with a DC motor and a ball screw. The housing is made of PPS, which has favorable characteristics such as heat resistance, hot water resistance, and chemical resistance (LLC resistance).

  • PPS: Polyphenylene sulfide
Electric motor actuator
Display Panel


Autonomous driving and telecommunication systems: Toyoda Gosei, Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electric, Omron, etc.

Toyoda Gosei: Emblem compatible with millimeter wave radar


  In recent years, millimeter wave radars have been installed close to the emblem for vehicle control technologies, including autonomous driving. Although plating may make the design of the emblem more attractive, plating adversely affects the ability of the sensor to receive radio waves. This emblem technology has a unique surface structure containing gaps, which is designed to allow radio waves to pass through the plating. The emblem is made of PC. This plastic was likely used for its surface gloss and impact resistance.

  • PC: Polycarbonate

Emblem compatible with millimeter wave radar Emblem lineup
Emblem compatible with millimeter wave radar
Display Panel
Emblem lineup

Hitachi Automotive Systems: Autonomous driving unit


  At the core of this autonomous driving unit is a single controller that integrates various advanced-driver-assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance emergency braking systems, and lane departure warning systems. The surface of ECU is coated with metal to diffuse heat. The type of plastic used for the housing is determined based on the customer's specifications.

Autonomous driving ECU Autonomous driving system/Products for EVs
Autonomous driving ECU Autonomous driving system/ Products for EVs

Mitsubishi Electric: Automotive gateway system, battery management unit


  The vehicle gateway system performs software updates via wireless communications and detects in-vehicle communication abnormalities by remote monitoring. The housing is presumed to be made of PBT, which has an excellent balance of physical properties, including electrical characteristics.
  The battery management unit is a system for detecting and controlling unique situations that may occur in the large number of secondary batteries used in electric vehicles. The housing is presumed to be made of PBT.

  • PBT: Polybutylene terephthalate
Automotive gateway system Battery management unit
Automotive gateway system Battery management unit

Omron: Driver monitoring system

  This device is comprised of a camera, sensor, and communication system. The housing is made of PC / ABS resin, which has an excellent balance of physical properties and an attractive appearance.

  • PC: Polycarbonate
  • ABS resin: Acrylonitrile, Butadiene, Styrene copolymer resin

Related report:
CEATEC JAPAN 2017: Driver Monitoring Technologies (November 2017)

Driver monitoring system
Driver monitoring system

Sumitomo Electric Industries: Central gateway, Ethernet SW ECU

  The Central Gateway is a device that controls signals exchanged between ECUs installed on a large number of vehicles in a V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) network, so that each vehicle in the network is connected by a gateway for to access each functional system. The Ethernet SW ECU is a switch ECU that realizes super high-speed gigabit communication by Ethernet. Both housings are presumed to be made of PBT, which has an excellent balance of physical properties such as electric characteristics.

  • PBT: Polybutylene terephthalate
Central gateway and
Ethernet SW ECU
Central gateway and Ethernet SW ECU

Car Mate: Drive action recorder

  It is the industry's first all-around 360 degree camera that can be used as a drive recorder and an action camera. The 360 degree design allows it to also record lateral collisions and shocks. The drive action recorder can be used in three modes: drive mode during commuting, parking monitoring mode during parking, and action mode during weekend activities. A PC with good mechanical strength and dimensional accuracy is used for the housing.

  • PC: Polycarbonate
Drive action recorder
Drive action recorder


Body/door/interior: Toyota Industries, U-SHIN, Tokai Rika, Motherson, etc.

Toyota Industries: Plastic glazing for rear window

  Toyota Industries exhibited a resin-glazed rear window that it aims to have adopted for rear doors. The plastic glazing is designed to protect privacy by preventing the interior to be seen from the outside by the use of two-color molded PC / polyester alloy with superior impact resistance and excellent chemical resistance, which can be used as a window frame material. (The polyester is thought to be either PBT or PET)

  • PC: Polycarbonate
  • PBT: Polybutylene terephthalate
  • PET: Polyethylene terephthalate
Plastic glazing for rear
window
Plastic glazing for rear window

Koito: License plate lamp module

  The unified construction of the license plate lamp module combines the license plate lamp, back-up camera, electronic mirror camera, door opener, etc., making it smaller, lighter, and inexpensive. The housing is presumed to be made of an ABS resin and PC alloy. The material has excellent dimensional, heat resistance, and mechanical properties.

  • ABS resin: Acrylonitrile, Butadiene, Styrene copolymer resin
  • PC: Polycarbonate
License plate lamp module
License plate lamp module

Mitsuba: Direct drive wiper system

  Mitsuba exhibited a direct drive type wiper system, which directly connects the wiper arm and blade to the wiper motor without using a link mechanism. The system uses the world's first brushless motor, which has a high degree of controllability as well as features such as small size, light weight, and quiet operation. For the wiper arms and blades, PBT is used, which has excellent strength, friction abrasion resistance, and balanced physical properties.

  • PBT: Polybutylene terephthalate
Direct drive wiper system
Direct drive wiper system
Display Panel

Aisin: Door system and structural adhesives


  The door system appeared to utilize engineering plastics such as POM and PBT, which have excellent slidability, mechanical properties, etc.

  • POM: Polyoxymethylene (polyacetal)
  • PBT: Polybutylene terephthalate

  Also noteworthy is that the Aisin exhibit displayed examples of products produced using epoxy structural adhesives.

Door
system Epoxy
type structural adhesive
Door system Epoxy type structural adhesive
Display Panel

U-SHIN: Rear access module

  The rear access module has modularized components (license light / rear view camera / door open switch, etc.) individually attached to the backdoor to achieve a smart appearance. In addition to simplifying the vehicle assembly process, all of the module's components, including the garnish, can be manufactured in-house, optimizing the fit between parts and improving the overall appearance. The housing is presumed to be made of an ABS composite plastic having an excellent balance of physical properties and an attractive appearance.

  • ABS resin: Acrylonitrile, Butadiene, Styrene copolymer resin
Rear access module
Rear access module
Display Panel

Tokai Rika: Multi-function lever-type switches, and peripheral seatbelt parts

  One corner of the Tokai Rika exhibit displayed parts adopted on the Lexus LS, introducing products such as interior parts and drive control parts surrounding the instrument panel. Structural parts on the outer periphery of the lever combination switch are made of ABS plastic with a good balance of physical properties and an attractive appearance. Engineering plastics such as POM or PA are is used to ensure the strength and slidability of the internal double circular rotating portion of lever combination switch. For peripheral seatbelt parts, engineering plastics such as POM are used, which have excellent slidability and mechanical strength.

  • ABS resin: Acrylonitrile, Butadiene, Styrene copolymer resin
  • POM: Polyoxymethylene (polyacetal)
  • PA: Polyamide
Components for Lexus LS
Components for Lexus LS
Multi-function switch Seatbelt parts
Multi-function switch Seatbelt parts

Samvardhana Motherson Group: Decorative interior parts


  Decorative interior parts are made by decorating the PMMA-based film imbedded into the base material of parts made with PC / ABS plastic. Various interior products were displayed at the company's booth.

  • PC: Polycarbonate
  • ABS resin: Acrylonitrile, Butadiene, Styrene copolymer resin
  • PMMA: Polymethyl methacrylate
Decorative interior parts Cluster meter for Toyota Etios
Decorative interior parts
Display Panel: roof molding
Cluster meter for Toyota Etios


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Keywords
Motor show, resin, plastic, CFRP, carbon fiber, heat resistance, high rigidity, molding, lightweight, electrification, adhesive

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