Karl Benz was the creator of what many people feel was the first true automobile back in 1885. Of course, there was Henry Ford and many others that followed each adding to the innovations and accomplishments that has made our travel and destinations so accessible today! Without them, we’d still be traveling around in horse-drawn wooden carriages.
Throughout the ages of the automobile, we’ve seen the trends change over time. There was a time when riding unrestrained in the back of the parent’s station wagon wasn’t such a big deal. Today, there aren’t many station wagons left and you’d better well buckle up or face a hefty fine. Where simplistic lap belts used to be the norm, we now have automatically adjusting shoulder harnesses. Prior to airbags, you had soft padded dashboards you’d hope you’d never have to see up close. Prior to LSE polyolefin plastics, you had mostly metal and some composite parts making up the construction of cars and trucks.
As Industrial designers and Engineers strive for safer and more fuel-efficient cars, using LSE polyolefin plastics is becoming more and more prevalent. It’s estimated that a 10% reduction in a vehicles weight equates to a 5-7% increase in fuel economy. In 2017, because of the amazing nature of plastics overall, vehicles were made up of roughly 50% plastic by volume but only 10% by weight. By 2020, that number is supposed to jump by an additional 75%.
ELV, or end-of-life vehicle directive, was developed by automotive OEM’s to establish directives for the recycling of vehicles once they’ve reached the end of their useful life. The goal of automotive OEM’s is to manufacture future vehicles so that at least 95% of their weight can be recycled! There are 3 main polymers that make up 66% of the plastic being used in vehicles. Polypropylene, a LSE polyolefin plastic, makes up 32% of that total for interior and under hood applications.
LSE polyolefin plastics, which by their very nature are low surface energy (30-31 dyne/cm), also have a high coefficient of thermal expansion/contraction with heat & cold, all while having a high VOC emission rate of outgassing. Dashboards, cell phone charging pads, visors, under-hood fluid tanks and shrouds, air-intakes, aftermarket parts and more each need permanent labeling that not only endures differing climates, but the constant exposure to dirt, moisture, fuels, oils, cleaners, de-greasers and more. To say adhesive based labeling options are hopeless is an understatement.
That’s especially true because multiple labeling standards within the Code of Federal Regulations for automotive durable goods specifically state that labels are to be permanently affixed to products. Think of the seatbelt, airbag and roll-over warnings located on LSE polyolefin visors, the cell phone charger warning labels, or fan shroud and hot liquid warnings under the hood as examples. Permanent labels are necessary to protect consumers from harm and manufacturers / OEM’s from litigation for the life use of the vehicle, that’s it! It’s then the role of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, whose mission is to “save lives, prevent injuries and reduce vehicle-related crashes,” to enforce these standards.
Today there are claims being made by labeling supplier alleging that their adhesive based labeling options for automotive LSE applications will permanently bond or adhere in the most extreme environments which simply isn’t true. Suppliers making the claim that their labels “permanently” adhere to LSE polyolefin automotive products should have the test data to back it up. But looking at the data gives a different story. Chemical and environmental test data shows durability tests conducted on high surface energy aluminum or stainless-steel panels, not actual low surface energy polyolefin plastics.
Automotive industrial designers and engineers of automotive components should know with certainty that safety and warning labels applied to those products will last the life use of the vehicle it’s in. They should know with certainty that those labels will be there to help keep consumers informed and safe all while protecting the manufacturer / OEM’s from litigious risk.
The only viable solution is to use a 100% compatible Polyfuze label tailored to permanently meld Brand names, logos, and safety / warning information directly into LSE polyolefin plastics until their end of life use.
How permanent are Polyfuze labels? So permanent that they’re backed by our lifetime guarantee, our pledge to you.
And when end of life comes and it’s time to recycle, there’s no label to remove that only becomes waste on the ground or landfill because Polyfuze labels are 100% recyclable, just like the LSE polyolefin plastics they’re seamlessly fused to.
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