6:30Pm: the time when offices start to become empty. One of my favourite moments.
I hear the “goodbyes” of those who are about to leave the office and the replies of those who stay on to finish something.
Often, I stay until silence takes its place at the office and slowly sets in without asking for permission. I am happy to share those moments with it and I feel that I can collect my thoughts and finally see the results of the day’s work.
And some time ago, on one of these evenings, in that time of calm and peacefulness (when you can put the usual worries on hold – as you know, there are always some) I received an email that I had been waiting for for a long time.
It was about something so special for me that I did not even dare thinking about it and, in a way, I put it to the side in a corner of my mind.
I am very proud to inform you that the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) published an article by us with the title: Lightweight High-Performance Polymer Composite for Automotive Applications, written with the contributions of Ms Valentina Volpe, Ms Sofia Lanzillo, Mr Beniamino Villacci, Mr Innocenzo Macchiarolo and Mr Roberto Pantani of the University of Salerno.
I am very happy because it is a science journal that specialises in research in many domains of application: chemistry, physical chemistry, materials science etc.
But I’m sure you’ve heard about it already.
In particular, being able to talk about what we are doing at SAPA from a technical and specialised point of view, for me is further proof that we are carrying out some valuable research at global level – it is an important acknowledgement for someone like us who decided to invest in innovation.
The article will be useful for you too, as I am sure that you have been dealing with these issues for months. Let me explain myself better.
Some years ago, SAPA created a department called Innovation Engineering, whose aim is basically researching, studying and testing potential technological innovations that can be applied to the automotive sector.
You know very well that this objective (which is indeed quite ambitious) can be reached in many different ways.
The main focus of this research that will be published in the coming weeks is on the materials used to produce car parts.
The automotive industry must produce plastic parts with high precision as to their dimensions and that are lightweight, and this requirement pushes us to researching less conventional processes. On the one hand, because we can’t help using materials that have lower environmental impact, on the other hand because progress and research aim at continuous improvement that makes processes leaner while keeping the product quality standards high.
The material we used for this research is polyamide 66 (PA66) filled with glass fibre: a very interesting material for the automotive industry thanks to its excellent characteristics, although its application is still limited due to its relatively high costs.
In order to make the parts less costly and to preserve the main features of this material, in this research we explored the possibility of opting for a microcellular injection moulding process.
If you want to read this article, you will realise that it’s all about one single objective: making production leaner by optimising the production phases.
To reach this objective, I questioned the entire traditional method, the one that you are used to, the one that SAPA was using before experimenting with newer solutions that better respond to the market requirements.
What are we talking about practically?
We’re talking about what you try and achieve with hard work during all the hours you spend at the office: faster production, fewer scraps, steadily high and competitive quality standards and saving on costs – which will make your boss happy. I am right?
When our Innovation Engineering department created the One-Shot® Method, it had been working on precisely these issues. And these are the issues that so many engineers and car makers are faced with right now while you’re reading. These are common issues, for this reason I am keen on sharing this already industrialised solution with you.
The One-Shot® Method, as a matter of fact, is a patented method that enables you to produce car parts (obviously with advanced polymers) with:
It is literally patented: we have a patent number and it is a method that can be applied to any car part. It’s like a formula that, once it is applied, guarantees the results listed above.
You can imagine what the benefits are, and here I list but a few:
I feel I can say that the research I was telling you about goes in the One-Shot® direction because I strongly believe that this is the future of the car.
To survive in a very competitive and increasingly selective environment where one needs to make the difference in order to sell a product that is no longer considered as a necessary thing to have, we need to go down a new way.
This research is but a small step and I hope you will take it with me.
General Manager and Member of SAPA’s Board of Directors
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