CSP’s space-age composite for auto gets top innovation award

For the second time in three weeks, Michigan-headquartered Continental Structural Plastics’s(CSP) TCA UltraLite material has been recognised by the composites industry for innovation, winning the Materials category and receiving the Grand Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPI) at the recent 2015 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards event.

Besting more than 30 award finalists, CSP bags the grand award that was 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% weight savings over standard density advanced composite materials. It is currently in production on the major body panels of the 2016 Chevrolet C7 Corvette.

Because there is no degradation of mechanical properties, lighter parts moulded 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 moulded 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% 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.


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