SPE calls for nominations for automotive innovation awards

TROY — The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers Is announcing a “Call for Nominations” for its 49th annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries, and due dates for the event’s annual Parts Competition and Hall of Fame Award nominations.

This year’s Awards Gala will be held Wednesday, Nov. 6 at the Burton Manor in Livonia. Award winners for plastic parts in 10 different categories, and the teams that developed them, will be honored with a “Most Innovative Use of Plastics Award.” A “Grand Award” will also be presented to the best overall entry.

Part nominations are due Sept. 15.

An application that has been in continuous use for 15 years or more, and has made a significant and lasting contribution to the application of plastics in automotive vehicles, will be honored with a “Hall of Fame” award. Nominations for this award are due May 31.

Nominations must be submitted online at this link. http://speautomotive.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018-SPE-Innovation-Awards-Program-Part-Nomination-Form.pdf

“Polymer technologies are advancing mobility by enabling mass savings, greater design flexibility, enhanced performance and more,” said Jeffrey Helms, global automotive director for Celanese Corp., who returns as the 2019 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards chair. “This led to the selection of ‘Plastics – Advancing Mobility’ as our 2019 program theme. Plastics technologies are enabling automakers to provide the advanced performance and comfort features their customers want while meeting global regulatory and affordability targets. Plastics and composites are the leading material solution for automotive applications today and will be used even more in the future with the growth of autonomous vehicles with advanced communications and connectivity.”

Since 1970, the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition has highlighted the positive changes that polymeric materials have brought to automotive and ground-transportation industries, such as weight and cost reduction, parts consolidation, increased safety, and enhanced aesthetics and design freedom. At the time the competition started, in 1970, many automotive designers and engineers thought of plastics as inexpensive replacements for materials that were then more traditional. To help communicate that plastics were capable of far more functionality than their typical use as decorative items indicated, members of the board of directors of SPE’s Automotive Division created the competition to recognize successful and innovative plastics applications and to communicate their benefits to automakers, the media, and the public.

Over the years, the competition drew attention to plastics as an underused resource and made industry aware of more progressive ways of designing, engineering, and manufacturing automotive components. The competition has grown to be one of the most fiercely contested recognition events in the automotive and plastics industries.

Today, polymeric materials are no longer substitutes for more expensive materials, but rather are the materials of choice in hundreds of different applications throughout the vehicle. Without plastics, many of the auto industry’s most common comfort, control, and safety applications would not be possible.

During the competition phase of the event, dozens of teams made up of automakers and suppliers work for months to hone submission forms and presentations describing their part, system, or complete vehicle module to support claims that it is the year’s “Most Innovative Use of Plastics.” To win, teams must survive a pre-competition review and two rounds of presentations before industry and media judges.

There is no cost to nominate parts, but nominations that are accepted into the competition need to be presented (in person or via webinar) by their nominating teams during the first round of Automotive Innovation Awards Competition judging, Sept. 26-27 in Auburn Hills. Finalists from that round advance to a second presentation before a panel of judges, made up of media, retired chief engineers, and other industry experts on Oct. 4, also in Auburn Hills.

Winners of each part category, the Grand Award, Hall of Fame, and Lifetime Achievement winner will all be honored during the Automotive Innovation Awards Gala Nov. 6. This annual event currently draws over 800 automotive engineers, automotive and plastics industry executives, and media. Funds raised from the event are used to support SPE educational programs, including technical seminars and conferences, which help educate and secure the role of plastics in the advancement of the automobile.

Competition categories include additive manufacturing; aftermarket; body exterior; body interior; chassis and hardware; environmental; Hall of Fame; materials; process, assembly and enabling technologies; powertrain; and safety.

The mission of SPE is to promote scientific and engineering knowledge relating to plastics worldwide and to educate industry, academia, and the public about these advances. SPE’s Automotive Division is active in educating, promoting, recognizing, and communicating technical accomplishments in all phases of plastics and plastic-based composite developments in the global transportation industry. Topic areas include applications, materials, processing, equipment, tooling, design, and development.

For more information about the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition and Gala, visit www.speautomotive.com. For more information on the Society of Plastics Engineers, visit www.4spe.org.

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