SPE: New category for 2021 Automotive Innovation Awards Competition & Gala

The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) announced a new category for its 50th annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, the oldest and largest recognition event (established in 1970) in the automotive and plastics industries.

The new category, “Automotive Plastics Industry Solutions for Covid-19,” will highlight how automotive OEMs and suppliers adapted their processes, materials, or business to support the international needs for battling Covid-19. “The automotive plastics industry developed a number of extraordinary innovations for battling Covid-19,” said Jeffrey Helms, global automotive director, Celanese Corp., who returns as the 2021 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards chair. “Protective masks, face shields, clothing; medical supplies; ventilators and more were made possible or enhanced with plastics,” continued Helms. “We’re looking forward to honouring our industry heroes who worked together to provide fast, efficient and effective solutions for Covid-19 at this year’s special 50th SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Gala.“

This year’s Awards Gala will be held Wednesday, 10 November 2021 at the Burton Manor in Livonia, MI, USA. Winning part nominations (due by 15 September 2021) in twelve different categories, and the teams that developed them, will be honoured with a “Most Innovative Use of Plastics” award. A “Grand Award” will be presented to the winning team from all category award winners. Additional categories include: Additive Manufacturing, Aftermarket & Limited Edition/Specialty Vehicles, Body Exterior, Body Interior, Chassis/Hardware, Environmental, Materials, Powertrain, Process/Assembly/Enabling Technologies, and Safety. A special Hall of Fame (HOF) award will be given to the top 5 most innovative HOF winners since the category was established in 1983. The HOF Award honours an application that has been in continuous use for 15 years or more and has made a significant and lasting contribution to the application of plastics in automotive vehicles. Nominations must be submitted online via: https://speautomotive.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/2021-SPE-Innovation-Awards-Program-Part-Nomination-Form-V13.pdf

Since 1970, the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition has highlighted the positive changes that polymeric materials have brought to automotive and ground-transportation industries, such as weight and cost reduction, parts consolidation, increased safety, and enhanced aesthetics and design freedom. At the time the competition started, in 1970, many OEM designers and engineers thought of plastics as inexpensive replacements for more “traditional” materials. To help communicate that plastics were capable of far more functionality than their typical use as decorative knobs and ashtrays indicated, members of the board of directors of SPE’s Automotive Division created the competition to recognise successful and innovative plastics applications and to communicate their benefits to OEMs, media, and the public.

There is no cost to nominate parts, however, nominations that are accepted into the competition need to be presented (in person or via webinar) by their nominating teams during the first round of Automotive Innovation Awards Competition judging, 23 – 24 September 2021 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Finalists from that round advance to a second presentation before a panel of Blue Ribbon judges made up of media, retired chief engineers, and other industry experts on 1 October 2021 (also in Auburn Hills, Michigan). Winners of each part category, the Grand Award, Hall of Fame, and Lifetime Achievement winner will all be honoured during the Automotive Innovation Awards Gala on 10 November 2021. This annual event currently draws over 800 OEM engineers, automotive and plastics industry executives, and media. Funds raised from the event are used to support SPE educational programmes including technical seminars and conferences, which help educate and secure the role of plastics in the advancement of the automobile.