MAUMEE, Ohio and FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Dana Holding Corp., BASF and Ford Motor Co. have earned the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Innovation Award. The companies were recognized in the powertrain category for the development of a state-of-the-art thermoplastic oil pan for the all-new Ford F-Series Super Duty truck’s 6.7-liter Powerstroke diesel engine.
The oil pan’s unique design delivers improved impact performance, as well as significant cost and weight savings.
The SPE Innovation Awards recognize the most innovative use of plastics in the automotive industry. Winners are selected by a panel of blue ribbon judges made up of retired industry leaders and members of the media. The awards were presented last Thursday evening in Livonia, Mich.
"Dana continuously seeks opportunities to add value for our customers," said Dana Chief Technical Officer George Constand. "This award for innovation is a great example of close collaboration among customers and suppliers."
The oil pan is the first North American commercial application to utilize ULTRAMID B3ZG7 OSI "Optimized for Stone Impact" thermoplastic material from BASF. The material combines a glass-filled polyamide 6 polymer with a proprietary impact modifier designed to achieve superior long-term impact performance and to withstand attack from road salts. The pan also incorporates a highly-engineered rib pattern designed to survive multiple impacts by absorbing and dissipating the energy in the pan structure.
"Our collaboration with BASF and Ford on the thermoplastic oil pan addresses Ford’s need for lightweight products that meet or exceed the company’s uncompromising performance standards on its flagship truck platform," said David Nash, director of research and development for the Dana Sealing Products Group. "By integrating the core capabilities of all organizations, we’ve developed an extremely durable, award-winning solution that delivers high customer value."
The oil pan was designed to withstand the most rugged conditions, including stone impacts and temperature extremes. It also provides reductions in noise, vibration and harshness for increased customer satisfaction. Additionally, the lightweight resin material, combined with the oil pan’s unique ribbed design, offers significant weight reduction of up to 40 percent — and cost savings of up to 30 percent — when compared with cast aluminum.
Further, the use of plastic easily allows for the incorporation of additional components such as oil sensors, baffles, etc., which is not possible using stamped steel.
Also unique to the oil pan is the use of an easy-access, patent-pending plastic drain plug — the first of its kind — which features a cam lock-fastening system that can be opened or resealed by hand or with a standard 3/8-inch socket. The drain plug was designed so that excessive torque, when applied to the plug, will not damage the pan.
"Designing and demonstrating long-term stone impact performance similar to or better than current metallic oil pans was the key requirement for us to penetrate the North American market," said Mark Minnichelli, BASF Engineering Plastics Technology director.
Dana will supply the oil pan as part of a complete module that includes the oil pan, gasket, fastening system and drain plug assembly. Additionally, Dana will continue to supply Spicer front axles and rear driveshafts for the truck.
Dana will manufacture the oil pan module at its Composite Sealing Center in Paris, Tenn., before shipping to Ford’s engine assembly facility in Chihuahua, Mexico.