Three major industry award competitions – SPE Automotive Innovation Awards, SPE Thermoforming Awards, and SEMA - have recently awarded the top prize to a part, or a vehicle containing parts, made with AkzoNobel's Soliant Fluorex® bright film.
Retro USA's chrome-film thermoformed bumpers for the Limited Edition Mustang sports car grabbed the prize in the Performance and Customization category at the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Innovation Competition and Gala held November 9th in Livonia, MI. The bumper, which is made with AkzoNobel's alternative to chrome plating, Soliant Fluorex® bright film, is the longest and thinnest chrome-film thermoformed TPO part to date. The part has a lustrous chrome surface, but offers the additional benefits of being lighter, more environmentally friendly, and less costly than a traditional chrome-plated bumper.
"AkzoNobel's Soliant Fluorex® bright film provides the durable, high-quality finish that enabled the part and suppliers involved to take the prize and shine," said Teri Chouinard, CBC, of Intuit Group, who nominated the part for the SPE Innovation Awards.
Eco-friendly Soliant Fluorex® bright film can be extruded, laminated, thermoformed and injection molded making it an ideal finishing material for parts formed from cost-effective TPO. It offers excellent impact and chemical resistance, superior gravelometer performance and is fully recyclable. The chrome-film parts "will not rust, crack, chip or peel" per the warranty on Retro USA's website.
The same part won the Heavy-Gauge-Vacuum-Forming Category at the parts competition organized by the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Division, which took place on Sept. 19, in Milwaukee. In this case the award went to the molder of the part, Brentwood Industries (Reading, PA). The chrome-film bumpers, which are attached to the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro and Dodge Charger with two-sided 3M™ tape, utilize Soliant Fluorex® Bright Film, to achieve a customized chrome look without the fuss and expense of dip-chroming. The chrome-film is laminated to a 0.060 in.-thick TPO substrate using a molding process that maximizes chrome aesthetic consistency.
"Chrome-film parts give cars a unique, customized look sought by sports car enthusiasts," said Chouinard. "Best of all, the parts are eye-catching and beautiful!"
The chrome-film thermoformed bumpers also played a role in helping the Chevrolet Camaro secure SEMA's Most Accessory-Friendly Car award at the trade group's convention in Las Vegas, held Nov. 2 through Nov. 5. Retro USA, is the Retro-Restyler for the Camaro. "The bumpers have helped shine a light on the image of the Chevrolet Camaro as 'one of the most accessorized vehicles on the planet,'" according to Chouinard.
Supply chain partners for the chrome-film thermoformed bumpers are as follows:
Retro-Restyler: Retro USA (Burnsville, MN)
Thermoformer: Brentwood Industries (Reading, PA)
Tape: 3M™ VHB™
Laminator: Positron (Elkhart, IN)
Extruder: Orion Plastics (Edmonton, AB)
TPO: Mytex Polymers Inc. (Jeffersonville, IN)
Tooling supplier: Castek (Elyria, OH)
Consultation: Advanced Plastic Consultants (Lake, MI)
Film supplier: AkzoNobel, Soliant (Lancaster, SC)