Renewably-Sourced Plastic Debuts, Captures Innovation Award
The plant-derived DuPont™ Zytel® RS 610 nylon resin that debuts on a new automotive radiator end tank from DENSO Corp. illustrates the benefits of close collaboration throughout the value chain and marks the first use of DuPont renewably-sourced plastic in mechanical components exposed to the hot, chemically aggressive underhood environment.
It also earned a Most Innovative Use of Plastics award in the Environment Category from the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Division for Toyota and partners DENSO and DuPont Automotive for use on Toyota Camry models.
The renewably sourced DuPont™ Zytel® RS nylon is produced by a chemical reaction between organic compounds derived from the castor plant and petroleum. Additives, including glass fiber and others are incorporated to produce the resultant eco-friendly resin, which DENSO jointly developed with DuPont Automotive. About 40 percent of the resin is comprised of the plant-based ingredients.
Not only is the resin made from environmentally friendly materials, but the new radiator tank releases less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere during its life cycle than the conventional product. This can partially be attributed to the fact that Zytel® RS is extracted from plants, which absorb CO2 through the photosynthesis process. Also, because less petroleum is used to produce the end tank, the new product also helps conserve oil.
Collaboration is the Catalyst for Innovation
“The strategy of collaborating throughout the value chain is critical when cost effectively bringing high-value solutions to the market,” said Chris Murphy, DuPont global automotive industry director. “This development truly illustrates a great way to get from today to tomorrow.”
In this case, DENSO engineering and DuPont R&D embarked on development of a new material for use in a higher performance radiator end tank that meets auto manufacturers’ needs for sustainable solutions. The new material, developed jointly by DENSO and DuPont in a proprietary process, contains 40 percent renewable content by weight derived from the castor bean plant, and meets requirements for exceptional heat resistance, durability and road salt resistance – attributes DENSO says were difficult to deliver with many resins containing a high percentage of plant-derived ingredients.
“Today’s business climate – with demands for innovation in the face of intense cost pressures – is driving the engineering community to rethink the design and manufacture of automotive components and systems,” said Patrick Ferronato, global director, development and marketing -- DuPont Automotive Performance Materials. “It’s challenging us all to use design and engineering strengths to the fullest and to drive ‘engineering strategy’ beyond procurement price – at the end of the day, we must be cost-neutral at best, and collaboration for innovation is our best strategy to deliver economically and environmentally sustainable solutions.”
Shared goals, objectives and clear timelines were essential elements in this program, according to Masatoshi Ikeda, global account manager of Denso Group, DuPont Engineering Polymers. “DENSO and DuPont share a commitment to delivering innovation that not only improves our environmental footprint, but also delivers benefits through improved performance, cost control and sustainability.”
DuPont has introduced a number of renewably sourced products that are made, in whole or in part, from renewable agricultural feedstocks such as corn, soybeans, castor beans, sugar cane and wheat, rather than petroleum to help industry reduce dependence on depleteable petroleum-based products. Among the nine high-performance product families are: DuPont™ Sorona® polymer, DuPont™ Sorona® EP thermoplastic polymer, DuPont™ Hytrel® RS thermoplastic elastomer and DuPont™ Zytel® long chain polyamides.