Since the 1950s, plastic has been used in the manufacture of virtually every car, truck, bus, train, car, airplane, and boat. That means that automotive plastic parts have come a long way. Continue reading to learn about the history of automotive plastics parts in greater detail.
Before the Time of Plastic Parts
Before the 1950s, most cars were mostly made of steel, which meant that cars were heavier. According to the Department of Energy’s Transportation Energy Data Book, the amount of steel and iron in life has continually decreased from 75% to 63% between 1977 and 2004. The journey to using plastics in the automotive industry began in the early 1940s with Henry Ford, whose idea was to support the agricultural industry with a car body made of soybean plastic. Many other car manufacturers followed suit in the years to come, and the use of automotive plastic parts had become ubiquitous by the 2000s.
How is Plastic Incorporated Into Automotive Manufacturing?
As already established, plastic has become the material of choice in the automotive industry. There are various types of plastics used in bodywork, including thermoplastics, thermosets, and elastomers. Various parts of a car are also made from plastics, including the dashboard, air conditioner vents, seat belts, airbags, and floormats. Most of these parts are made from the injection molding method, which is able to produce the correct plastic parts with a high amount of precision and accuracy. Overall, this has improved the overall profitability of the automotive industry.
The Benefits of Plastic In Automotive Manufacturing
There are many reasons why plastic parts are used a lot in automotive manufacturing. For one, plastics are favorable because they help improve fuel efficiency. This is because plastics are extremely lightweight, and even though they take up a lot of volume, they constitute only a small percentage of a car’s weight. Automotive plastic parts also allow for a lot of innovation and a wide range of designs. What’s more, plastic parts are easier and cheaper to replace, which has helped to make cars more affordable. Other benefits of plastic in automotive manufacturing include the fact that it’s environmentally sustainable due to reduced emissions.
The history of automotive plastic parts is certainly fascinating. Today, it’s even more fascinating to discover the innovative use of plastic to manufacture a wide variety of vehicles. If you are looking for quality automotive plastic parts, contact Hansen Plastics today!