A reader asks: "In the next 5 years, which areas of the vehicle will see a conversion from metal to plastic?" Tech Briefs invites you to share your thoughts and “Sound Off!”

Automotive OEMs are entering a new phase of lightweight design. New manufacturing processes aim to make materials quicker, cheaper, and stronger.

Vishwas Shankar, Research Manager, Business Strategy and Innovation Group, Mobility – Automotive & Transportation, Frost & Sullivan North America

During a live webinar titled “Lightweighting: Defining the Next Phase,” a Tech Briefs attendee asked Vishwas Shankar, Research Manager at the New York, NY-based business management consultancy Frost & Sullivan:

Q: Which areas of the vehicle will see metal-to-plastic conversion in the next 5 years? And what will we see in 5-10 years from now?

Vishwas Shankar: As we try to lightweight some of solutions in the next five years, I would put on my thinking cap and say it's about bumpers, fuel tanks, and definitely some of the seat components. In 10 years, I would say the cooling set of the engine components, some of the fuel injectors, pumps, or even the bearings, valve systems, or tank manifolds.

Remember: At some point in time, vehicles are not going to collide. Because of autonomous driving, these vehicles will be driving with safe braking distances. As vehicles [reduce their] crashes, OEMs will be keen on learning how front-end modules or even some of the gears and thermostat housings (as they move also towards electric vehicles) could be the potential opportunities for applying plastics.

What do you think? How else do you see OEMs achieving lightweight design?

Share your comments and questions about lightweight design below.

To learn more, watch the full webinar featuring Vishwas Shankar: Lightweighting: Defining the Next Phase.