Materials Science

Solvay wins SPE Automotive Award for Slot Insulation Liner EV Innovation

Three e-mobility applications using Solvay specialty polymers are among the winners of The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) prestigious Automotive Awards in 2021. First place in the ‘New Mobility’ category of the Awards went to an injection molded rotor slot liner molded with Xydar® LCP, followed by a second place in the ‘Enabler’ category for a magnet wire insulation in KetaSpire® PEEK and a third place in the ‘Powertrain’ category for a coolant line using Ryton® PPS.

“We would like to congratulate our customers who developed and brought these applications to market, demonstrating the overall cost, performance and sustainability benefits that can be derived from our specialty polymers in demanding e-mobility systems and components”, says Georges Houtappel, Executive Vice President Transportation at Solvay. “After more than 20 years of enabling the design and manufacturing of high-performance and cost-efficient applications for internal combustion engines, the superior innovation potential of our materials for lightweighting, metal replacement and enhanced sustainability is now also extending to e-mobility applications such as e-motors, batteries and power electronics.”

The recognized applications in greater detail:

  • New Mobility Category Award, 1st PlaceSlot liners injected, application developed and molded with Xydar® G930 30% glass fiber reinforced and flame retardant liquid crystal polymer (LCP) by Cobraplast, Italy, for one of Germany’s foremost automotive manufacturers. The part is used in the rotor design of an advanced-generation electric drive traction motor where it provides a barrier between the copper windings and the steel lamination of the rotor. In this small but critical application, Xydar® LCP replaces incumbent multi-layer films and provides significant cost and performance advantages. The material combines exceptional flowability to fill 0.65 mm thin sections over a length of 220 mm with zero warpage to meet tight tolerance specifications. In addition, it also ensures high stiffness to prevent breakage during assembly.
  • Enabler Category Award, 2nd Place – Magnet wire insulation developed by Essex Furukawa company, Germany, using solvent-free KetaSpire® polyetheretherketone (PEEK). Magnet wires coated with KetaSpire® PEEK are highly efficient in increasing power density and torque while reducing the weight and size of electric motors. The specialty polymer offers a thermal performance of 240°C and a dielectric strength of 197 kV/mm in combination with high ductility, stress crack resistance, long-term mechanical strength and outstanding chemical resistance.
  • Powertrain Category Award, 3rd PlaceCooling lines with coolant tubes extruded in Ryton® polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) XE 3500 (unfilled) and XE 5430 (30% glass-filled), complete with connectors injection molded in Ryton® R4-270 (40% glass-filled). Widely proven for cooling and venting lines in the high-heat environment of downsized internal combustion engines, Ryton® PPS also provides the chemical resistance, mechanical strength and flame retardancy needed for battery cooling lines in electric vehicles. In these applications, the polymer replaces lower performing polyamides as well as metals, which helps OEMs benefit from the lightweighting possibilities with plastics also in chemically and mechanically more demanding fluid handling systems.

E-mobility brings new technical challenges for carmakers in terms of component properties such as thermal conductivity, EMI shielding, CTI and dielectric strength. Solvay is constantly working with leading OEMs and Tiers to develop new specialty polymer grades offering enhanced performance for innovative e-motor, power electronics and battery applications, while helping manufacturers improve their cost balance and lower their carbon footprint.

The winners in the 20th SPE Central Europe Automotive Awards have underscored the vast potential of Solvay’s specialty polymers for optimizing the reliability, lifetime, cost efficiency and sustainability of e-mobility applications. Moreover, the company’s PEEK and PPS base polymers production in the United States is using 100% renewable energy.

KetaSpire®, Ryton® and Xydar® are registered trademarks of Solvay.