TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.-- Plastic fluid handling lines developed in France are replacing rubber and metal systems for Dana Corp.
Plastic valve covers with integrated seals and baffles are under development in Germany and headed for production in South America and North America.
Once the North American market gets used to it, theyre going to find ease of assembly. Theyre going to find its cheaper and more cost effective, predicted Mike Laisure, president of Danas engine an fluid management group during an interview on Wednesday, Aug. 6, at the Management Briefing Seminars.
Dana picked up expertise in plastic fluid handling lines with its 1996 acquisition of Nobel Plastiques SA. It has spent the past few years restructuring its holdings, going from 19 divisions within the engine and fluid group down to seven now.
With that streamlining, Dana can more easily transfer capabilities. The companys North American plastics manufacturing units – in Plumley, Tenn., and San Luis Potosi, Mexico – are finding new life through those products.
European units also are pushing for further expansion of plastic modules, drawing upon the same concepts that have seen thermoset valve covers grow to take in seals and other systems. The proposals now under development move to the underside of the engine, looking to take in an oil pan, seals and pumps – potentially combining seven or eight components in a single part.
Laisure said, We see a lot of opportunities for the same reason youve seen plastic growth everywhere else over the years.