SPE announces dates, deadlines for automotive awards gala

The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers will host its 45th-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, at Burton Manor in Livonia, MI, US.

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The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE, Troy, MI, US) has announced the date, location, and theme for its 45th-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries, and deadlines for the event's annual parts competition. This year’s Awards Gala will be held Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, at Burton Manor in Livonia, MI, US, where winning part nominations (submitted by Sept. 15, 2015) and the teams that developed them will be honored during an evening that celebrates automotive plastics innovation.

Current competition categories include:

  • Body Exterior
  • Body Interior
  • Chassis/Hardware
  • Electrical Systems
  • Environmental
  • Hall of Fame
  • Materials
  • Process/Assembly/Enabling Technologies
  • Powertrain
  • Safety

During the competition phase of the event, dozens of teams made up of OEMs, tier suppliers, consultants, and polymer producers work for months to hone submission forms and presentations describing their part, system, or complete vehicle module and why it merits the claim as 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. However, 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, Oct. 1-2. Finalists from that round will advance to a second presentation before a panel of Blue Ribbon judges made up of media, retired chief engineers and other industry experts, on Oct. 12. Winners of each part category as well as a Hall of Fame winner will be honored during the Automotive Innovation Awards Gala on Nov.11. This annual event typically draws more than 700 OEM engineers, automotive and plastics industry executives and media. Funds raised from the event are used to support SPE educational efforts and technical seminars, which help educate and secure the role of plastics in the advancement of the automobile.

"Plastics and composites have never looked better to automakers as they work to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse-gas emissions ahead of new legislative mandates for 2025," explains Jeffrey Helms, global automotive director, Celanese Corp. who returns as the 2015 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards chair. "In the U.S., we're coming up on the midpoint assessment period for our 2025 CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards, and during the next year or two, regulators will be taking a close look at how automakers are doing in getting weight out and increasing fuel-efficiency ratings. Given these pressures, last year's SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition had the highest attendance in our history and we expect that trend will continue in 2015 as well, which is reflected in this year's theme: The Future Looks Light. With powertrain and electrification plans already in the 2020 plans, automotive manufacturers will need to validate and test alternatives in the next few years in order to meet the 2025 requirements without sacrificing cost, safety, aesthetics, or performance. It's an exciting time to be in the automotive plastics industry and we look forward to seeing the kinds of parts our competition draws this year."

For more information about the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition and Gala see speautomotive.com/inno