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Structural Plastics First

This little bracket may be the thin end of the wedge when it comes to more structural plastic use in vehicles.

This little bracket may be the thin end of the wedge when it comes to more structural plastic use in vehicles. DuPont Automotive (Troy, MI ) claims this mirror housing bracket, currently in use on the 2004 Dodge Durango, is the first use of plastic for structural support of a steel panel on a body-in-white. It's made of DuPont's Rynite polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin which can withstand the 350° e-coat oven temperatures necessary for body-in-white use. Chrysler confirms that switching to Rynite from steel allowed it to reduce part costs by eliminating many steps in the bracket's manufacturing process, including an entire welding operation. A further benefit is weight reduction: the plastic part weighs 86% less than the equivalent part in steel.