OEMs are working on manufacturing vehicles that are light in weight, thus consuming less fuel. For example, a 10 per cent reduction in weight can result in 6-8 per cent fuel economy improvement. Replacing cast iron and traditional steel components with lightweight materials like polymer composites can directly reduce the weight of a vehicle's body and chassis by up to 50 per cent thereby reducing a vehicle's fuel consumption, says Harshad Naik, Managing Director, India Subcontinent, Huntsman International India Pvt Ltd, and Director of the Polyurethanes (PU) business, India Subcontinent. At the same time, the need for weight reduction and miniaturisation is driving the demand for adhesives. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Harshad Naik explains the importance of plastics and adhesives for automakers and his growth plans for the company.
An increase in demand for electric vehicles will eventually lead to an increase in demand for plastics in the automotive industry. The ultimate goal of automobile manufacturers is to increase fuel efficiency, thereby reducing carbon emissions. For this purpose, plastics are more effective than metals as metals make the vehicle heavier. Moreover, electric vehicle batteries are heavy. Using metal components will further add to the weight of the vehicle. Hence, it is essential that manufacturers use lightweight plastics to reduce overall weight of the vehicle in order to have a positive impact on the mileage.
OEMs are now working on manufacturing vehicles that are light in weight which help in less fuel consumption. For example, a 10 per cent reduction in weight can result in 6-8 per cent fuel economy improvement. Replacing cast iron and traditional steel components with lightweight materials like polymer composites can directly reduce the weight of a vehicle's body and chassis by up to 50 per cent thereby reducing a vehicle's fuel consumption.
Furthermore, by using lightweight structural materials, cars can carry better emission control systems, safety gears and cohesive electronic systems without increasing the overall weight of the vehicle. Moreover, the Bharat Stage (BS) VI emission standard will also bring the much-needed changes in the Indian automobile industry in terms of pollutant emission. With this emission norm coming into effect, India will be at par with the US & European countries along with other advanced automotive markets across the globe.
Besides, the current trend in the automotive seating industry is fast changing. Suppliers are faced with increasingly complex and conflicting demands to match up with the consumer’s needs. They are now working on manufacturing seats which have reduced weight while maintaining comfort at very high levels. OEMs are closely working on providing quality seating structure which can provide ease to the customer. There is also a strong drive towards using lighter weight parts since seating systems comprise almost 40 per cent of the weight of a vehicle’s components.