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SPE postpones Automotive Innovation Awards Gala to 2021

SPE’s Automotive Innovation Awards Gala has been rescheduled for Nov. 10, 2021, after deeming physical distancing impractical for the event. 
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Source | SPE

The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE, Detroit, Mich., U.S.) announced on June 18 the postponement of its 50th annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, the oldest and most recognized event (established in 1970) in the automotive and plastics industries. Originally planned for Nov. 19, 2020, the event commemorating “50 Years of Plastics Innovation,” is rescheduled for Nov. 10, 2021, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 event will be held at the Burton Manor in Livonia, Mich.

“Postponing the celebration is very unfortunate for our industry,” says Jefferey Helms, global automotive director at Celanese Corp. (Irving, Texas, U.S.) and 2019 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Chair. “Social distancing, recommended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, is simply not possible at this event while still providing a close collaborative environment we have come to expect for the Innovation Awards Gala,” continued Helms. “We are looking forward to properly celebrating next year which will offer our attendees the personal connection, industry camaraderie and reunion they expect at this event.”

SPE says part nominations —  now due by Sept. 15, 2021 — from 10 categories, and the teams that developed them, will be honored with a “Most Innovative Use of Plastics” award. Categories include: additive manufacturing, aftermarket and limited edition/specialty vehicles, body exterior, body interior, chassis/hardware, environmental, materials, powertrain, process assembly and enabling technologies and safety.

A “Grand Award” will be presented to the winning team from all category award winners. Further, special recognition will be given to the top 10 “Hall of Fame” (HOF) winners. SPE notes the HOF award criteria require that the nomination has been in use for at least 15 years (and is still being used), can be considered game-changing, has experienced worldwide success and is innovative in its materials, processes and application.

A Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring an individual who has demonstrated leadership and technical achievements in research, design and/or engineering, etc., that has led to significant integration of polymeric materials on automotive vehicles, will also be honored at the event. Nominations must be submitted online.

“Next year’s event will celebrate a half century of automotive advancements enabled by innovative plastics technologies,” notes Helms. In addition to honoring innovation via awards in the different part categories as usual, SPE says it will also celebrate its 50th anniversary, honoring key innovations in automotive plastics and the many benefits plastics have enabled over the years. This will include advancements in safety like seat belts, air bags and sensing devices, and environmental advancements including improved fuel efficiency, reduced carbon emissions and the growth of sustainable automotive innovations using natural and recycled materials. Notable transformation in plastics-enabled design and styling will also be honored.

For more information about the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition and Gala, visit SPE’s website.  

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