Of all the responsibilities automotive designers and engineers face when assessing LSE polyolefin thermoplastic parts and components for use in vehicles today, permanent safety and warning labeling cannot be overlooked. Why? The bottom line is this: If customer safety matters… Polyfuze All-Fusion labeling technology matters.
As Industrial designers and Engineers strive to design and produce safer, more fuel-efficient cars, using lower cost and durable LSE polyolefin plastics is becoming more prevalent every year. Today, LSE polyolefin components that make up much of the floor console in new vehicles come from injection molded thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV), part of the thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) family of polymers polymers under the trade names Santoprene™ (Exxon Mobil Chemical) and Trexprene™ (Mitsubishi Chemical). The rubber-like material has useful applications in wireless charging pads, seat belt sleeves, knobs, key pads, mats, seals, trays, liners, cup holder inserts, trim lips, overmolds, and parts where softness and conformity are needed. Likewise, different variations of polypropylene are used under the hood for reservoirs, fan shrouds, battery housing and more.
Of the 66% of the plastic used in vehicle assembly today, LSE polypropylene makes up almost half at 32%. It’s been estimated that a 10% reduction in a vehicles weight equates to a 5-7% increase in fuel economy which is helping designers and engineers meet the stringent corporate-average fuel economy (CAFE) standard without sacrificing safety or cost. In 2017, vehicles were made up of roughly 50% plastic by volume but only 10% by weight. By 2020, the 10% reduction in vehicle weight is expected to jump by an additional 75%. The objective of OEM’s is to manufacture vehicles so that at least 95% of their weight can be recycled!
There are 3 characteristics of LSE polyolefin plastics that need to be addressed when deciding on safety/warning labeling methods.
In other words, safety/warning labels must endure all the normal exposures they encounter during normal life use. Therefore, if durability and resistance to chemical and environmental exposures is the reason why LSE polyolefins were preferred by Industrial Designers and Engineers in the first place, isn’t it safe to say that anything, including adhesive-based labeling methods, attempting to adhere to its surface are going to be repelled too?
According to Automotive Global Performance Requirements for Labels, “all label validation testing shall be performed on production intent labels located on production intent components and installed using the production process.”
Take a deeper look at adhesive-based labeling options advertised for automotive LSE polyolefin thermoplastics and you’ll find that durability testing is performed on labels applied to high surface energy steel, aluminum or glass, not production intent components. For Industrial Designers or Engineers attempting to source permanent labeling for their parts or components, this initial sales tactic is frustrating and misleading. Furthermore, labeling methods attempting to adhere or bond onto LSE polyolefin thermoplastics have always required additional time and labor steps through the pre-treatment of LSE substrates using flame, corona or chemical agents prior to labeling.
Within the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) specific to automotive parts and components labeling, it’s stated multiple times that labels are to be permanently affixed to products until their end of life (ELV).
As the world’s only “all-fusion” system for permanent labeling of automotive LSE polyolefin thermoplastic products and components with Brand and Safety/Warning information, and with extensive durability testing beyond automotive labeling standards with a proven track record in-the-field, Polyfuze is the only label capable of meeting demanding CFR and OEM requirements (Polyfuze Test Data Report available upon request).
Using heat, Polyfuze labels permanently meld to automotive products and components creating an unbreakable chain that cannot be removed by abuse, chemicals, UV or other environmental inputs until a vehicle’s end-of-life (ELV). The system has also proven to save time, reduce scrap and save money all backed by the Polyfuze Lifetime Guarantee, the only of its kind in the label industry.
At a vehicle’s end-of-life (ELV), Polyfuze labels are 100% compatible with polyolefin thermoplastics meaning that the labeled polyolefin part or component can be fully recycled with no need for label removal or the waste it produces.
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Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
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