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TI Automotive

Adaptable Plastic Fuel Tank Advanced Process Technology (TAPT) for all vehicle powertrains

TI Automotive’s innovation is a process that allows the hot plastic balloon-like “parison” to be inflated in the molding die, then split in half in the die itself. The components are inserted into the open halves and firmly clamped in place by clamping the hot walls of the plastic around the components' attachment points. The two hot halves are then rejoined creating a completely sealed tank. The clamps harden into a permanent attachment when the plastic cools. TI automotive has been a leader in replacing metal gas tanks with those made of blow-molded plastic. TI won a PACE award for a previous process innovation involving insertion of gas tank components into the bottom of the tank as the hot plastic was being inflated in the molding die. However, new gas tanks in complex shapes often need baffles for noise reduction that won’t fit into the partially inflated plastic from the bottom. Designers want to have all the fuel handling hardware sealed in the tank to reduce evaporative emissions. This hardware has to be inserted and attached securely to the tank walls; dissimilar materials require special glues or mechanical attachments, typically requiring the manufacturer to cut the tank in half, assemble and mechanically attach the components, then re-weld it closed- all expensive and time consuming extra steps. For the first adopter of the new innovation, the Mercedes S-Class, the result is improved quietness, improved emissions and improved performance.