TI Automotive Wins 2014 Automotive News PACE Award For Plastic Fuel Tank Advanced Process Technology (TAPT)
TI Automotive, a leading global supplier of fluid storage, carrying and delivery technology, won a 2014 Automotive News PACE Award for its revolutionary tank advanced process technology (TAPT) for the production of plastic fuel tanks.
TAPT is a flexible manufacturing process that makes it possible to produce multiple types of fuel tanks for all types of powertrains – diesel, gasoline, flex-fuel, partial zero emissions vehicles (PZEV) and hybrid – from a single blow tooling set design. Currently, OEMs traditionally source the different vehicle tanks by engine type or regional differences. TAPT allows for global standardization of complete vehicle platforms.
The new production process expands on TI Automotive's 2009 Automotive News PACE Award-winning Ship-in-a-Bottle (SIB) fuel tank, in which a pre-loaded carrier assembly was inserted into the plastic parison during blow molding. While SIB enabled production of the world's first plastic PZEV saddle-shaped fuel tank, placement of fuel system components was limited on some applications due to the 10-inch plastic parison opening process.
During TAPT, a pre-formed blow-molded parison is separated into two halves while a robot inserts the fuel system components into designated areas of the tank assembly – without size or location limitations. The entire process takes less than one minute and uses existing blow molding equipment with the added key enabler of gripper features in the mold tooling design.
"TI Automotive has made tremendous strides in plastic fuel tank production, and this award supports our global commitment to innovation," said Bill Kozyra, chairman, CEO and president of TI Automotive. "TAPT provides substantial flexibility in vehicle design, as we are able to optimize component placement, reduce weight, reduce fuel slosh noise or increase stiffness – depending on application – and establish worldwide standards to support global vehicle platforms."
In addition, TAPT also makes it possible to build a stiff or pressurized fuel tank for hybrid vehicle applications through a unique double-molding process. During production, stiffening structures are inserted into the tank, which enable it to retain shape and pressure under the operating conditions of the hybrid-electric vehicle battery pack.
TAPT-based fuel tanks are currently in production for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, with additional programs currently under development in Europe, North America and Asia. TI Automotive has been recognized with more than 20 global patents for the technology key enabling features.
This is the third Automotive News PACE Award the company has won during the past six years. In addition to SIB, TI Automotive also won in 2010 for its dual-channel, single-stage fuel pump.