SPE picks date, theme for annual automotive awards gala

The Society of Plastics Engineers' 42nd-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala will be held Nov. 7 at Burton Manor in Livonia, Mich., USA.

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The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE, Troy, Mich., USA) has announced the date, location and theme for its 42nd-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries. This year’s event will be held Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 at Burton Manor in Livonia, Mich.

Jeffrey Helms, global automotive director, Ticona Engineering Polymers, who returns as the 2012 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards chair said, "With automakers facing tougher emissions and fuel-economy standards in nearly every geography, and vehicle lightweighting a key strategy for hitting those numbers, this year’s theme is Plastics Drive 54.5. Plastics and composites are the real lightweight materials and they can help transportation OEMs improve vehicle range – whether you’re driving a conventional internal combustion engine, a hybrid, or a plug-in electric vehicle. With polymers, you can also reduce costs, eliminate secondary operations, improve aesthetics, and better manage energy in a crash for better passenger safety. By drawing attention to how plastics can help automakers meet new U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations of 54.5 miles/gallon1 required by the year 2025 as well as maintain other important benefits, we at the SPE Automotive Division hope to help drive higher plastics use in tomorrow’s passenger vehicles.”

The SPE also has issued its annual call for parts and vehicle-engineering team nominations for the gala. Nomination forms for this year’s competition are available at speautomotive.com/inno and are due Sept. 1, 2012 for applications and vehicles that must be available for commercial sale on or before Nov. 1, 2012. Winners will be announced at this year’s Automotive Innovation Awards Gala.

Current competition categories include:

  • Body Exterior
  • Body Interior
  • Chassis/Hardware
  • Environmental
  • Hall of Fame
  • Materials
  • Performance & Customization
  • Process/Assembly/Enabling Technologies
  • Powertrain
  • Safety

There is no cost to nominate parts or vehicles. However, nominations that are accepted into the 2012 competition will need to be presented (in person or by webinar) by their nominating teams during the first round of Automotive Innovation Awards Competition judging, Sept. 27-28. Part finalists from that round will advance to a second presentation before a panel of Blue Ribbon judges on Oct. 8.

SPE’s Vehicle Engineering Team Award recognizes the technical achievements of teams made up of automotive designers and engineers, tier integrators, materials suppliers, toolmakers, and others whose work – in research, design, engineering, and/or manufacturing – has led to significant integration of polymeric materials on a notable vehicle. This is the sixth time in nine years that the award has been presented.

Visit speautomotive.com/inno for more information on the Gala.