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Asahi Kasei Plastics Wins "Most Innovative Use Of Plastics" In Materials Category Of SPE® Automotive Innovation Awards



   Asahi Kasei Plastics Wins "Most Innovative Use Of Plastics" In Materials
          Category Of SPE® Automotive Innovation Awards Competition

PR Newswire

LIVONIA, Mich., Dec. 6, 2012

LIVONIA, Mich., Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ford Motor Co. and Asahi Kasei
Plastics North America, Inc. shared the stage at the 42^nd Society of Plastics
Engineers (SPE^®) Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, winning the "Most
Innovative Use of Plastics" title in the Materials category for the LINCOLN^®
MKZ^®, FORD^® FUSION^® and FORD ESCAPE^® air register vanes. Asahi Kasei
Plastics developed Leona™ resin, an advanced, partially aromatic polyamide (PA
66/6i) with 60 percent glass reinforcement, to solve the challenges FORD faced
when designing longer register vanes. The unique properties of the Leona 90G60
resin meets FORD's requirements for high strength and high modulus (stiffness)
while providing the finished part with a Class A surface.

"We are especially proud to have won this award two years in a row and are
grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with FORD on such a challenging
and rewarding project," said John Moyer, president of Asahi Kasei Plastics.
"The high level of collaboration with the interiors team led by Mike Sun,
supervisor and technical specialist at FORD, made the development and
implementation seamless. For that we say thank you."

"I must also extend my deepest gratitude to our employees," continued Moyer
"Their dedication and commitment made both the innovation and the award
ultimately possible."

"The molded-in-color, Class A surface finish achieved with a 60 percent
fiberglass reinforced, controlled crystallization polyamide is a first for
FORD and the North American auto industry," said Ramesh Iyer, vice president
of commercial operations at Asahi Kasei Plastics.

New Design Required New Technology

Historically, the styling of the instrument panel and center stack have not
demanded that register vanes need specialty materials such as Leona 90G60
resin, but that was before touch screen displays started occupying large areas
of the dashboard. This shift of instrument panel utilization has required
designers to rethink the placement and design of registers which for many
years have been simple geometric shapes.

"With the shift to artistic and complex contoured designs in new vehicles, the
dimensional evolution of air registers has made the vanes thinner and longer.
A material both strong and stiff enough to meet the performance requirements
of a vane 170mm (6.7inches) long became necessary," stated Jim Dutchik,
business development manager at Asahi Kasei Plastics.

"Meeting the performance requirements can be accomplished one of two ways:
increase the thickness of the vanes (impacting air flow and aesthetic appeal)
or modify the stiffness by increasing glass fiber content, (allowing for
thinner vanes, but also impacting the surface appearance)," added Dutchik.
"Fortunately, Leona 90G60 resin not only makes it possible to meet the
mechanical specifications of the longer and thinner vanes, but it delivers the
Class A, molded-in-color surface appearance required as well."

Contributing to this resin's success is its dimensional stability, addressing
prolonged heat and UV exposure over extended periods of times.

"Register vanes have always maintained a functional purpose within
automobiles, and as the designs of the interior compartments have evolved, the
materials have needed to do the same," commented Dutchik.

The Science Behind The Innovation

"Controlling the crystallization rate by way of the polymer structure of Leona
90G60 resin was critical to the material's success." said Jim Dutchik. "The
'6i' aromatic structure changes the crystallization rate of the polyamide,
such that the polymer/glass matrix does not immediately freeze upon touching
the mold surface."

"This 'freeze delay' allows the molder to achieve a resin-rich surface during
the injection and packing segments of the molding cycle, providing a better
surface finish despite the high glass content."

Environmentally Sound

The controlled crystallization of Leona 90G60 resin also comes with
environmental benefits. Leona can still deliver a Class A surface finish in
mold temperatures as low as 85°C (185°F). This allows material processers to
take advantage of less-expensive water-chilled molds over costlier oil-chilled
molds.

The other environmental benefit is the resin's ability to eliminate the need
for secondary painting processes. This not only reduced costs but eliminated
VOCs in the interior of the vehicle as well as in the manufacturing
environment.

"We're always looking for environmentally sound solutions," states Dutchik.
"Leona 90G60 resin enables us to improve quality, provides cost savings and
improves environmental sustainability. This was a win-win scenario for us and
our customer."

About Asahi Kasei Plastics

This Michigan based subsidiary of Asahi Kasei Chemicals Co. boasts one of the
largest manufacturing facilities for the company outside of Japan.
Additionally, Asahi Kasei Plastics is the largest glass reinforced
polypropylene manufacturer in North America.  With sales growing globally,
their unique product portfolio is solving complex engineering problems.

Asahi Kasei Plastics provides customized resin solutions globally.  Their
product lines include THERMYLENE^® (polypropylene), LEONA™ (nylon 66, 66+6i),
THERMYLON^® (nylon 6, 66), TENAC™ (acetal) and XYRON™ (modified polyphenylene
ether – mPPE), STYLAC™ (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene – ABS).

FORD^® is a registered trademark of Ford Motor Company.

FUSION^®, ESCAPE^® and LINCOLN^® MKZ^® are product names of Ford Motor
Company.

Thermylene^®, Thermylon^® are registered trademarks of Asahi Kasei Plastics
North America, Inc.

Leona™, Tenac™, Xyron™, Stylac™ are trademarks of Asahi Kasei Chemicals
Corporation.

Asahi Kasei Plastics NA, Inc.
Ramesh Iyer, rsiyer@akplastics.com, 1-248-294-0135        
Joel Wiese, jpwiese@akplastics.com, 1-517-294-0254

Intuit Group, Inc.
Teri Chouinard CBC, APR, teri@intuitgroup.com, 1-810-797-7242

SPE^® is a registered trademark of the Society of Plastics Engineers.

Asahi Kasei Plastics North America, Inc., 900 E. Van Riper, Fowlerville, MI
48836

www.akplastics.com

SOURCE Asahi Kasei Plastics North America

Website: http://www.asahikaseiplastics.com
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