Mazda is undertaking a holistic approach to improving the fuel efficiency of its vehicles that it has branded “SKYACTIV” technologies. What this means is that not only are its designers and engineers addressing one aspect—like the powertrain or aerodynamics or weight—but all of them. This approach provides better synergies than can be achieved by independent improvements.
The extent to which they’re going with this can be discerned by a development of a new resin that is being used to produce the front and rear bumpers of the new CX-5 crossover. The material, developed along with Japan Polypropylene Corp., permits making thinner parts without sacrificing rigidity. In the case of the bumpers, this is resulting in a 20% weight save compared with making the same parts with traditional resins.
Another efficiency is being realized in the molding process. Through the use of computer-aided engineering (CAE), the engineers were able to determine that based on the fluidity of the resin during modeling, they could cut the molding time for the parts in half, from 60 second to 30. And because the parts are thinner, the cooling time is reduced, as well.
The developers isolated two components found in polypropylene and rubber and distributed them in a double-layer structure so that the inner layer provides the necessary rigidity and impact absorption while the outer provides paint film adhesion.