Within the heart of the North American automotive market pinfa North America in conjunction with SAMPE held a conference on April 4-5th 2018 entitled “Meeting Fire Safety Requirements for Ground Transportation”.
Fifty-five stakeholders attended this 2-day event in Dearborn Michigan adjacent to the FORD Motor Company central research facilities. Participants included automotive OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, Ecology Center Michigan, polymer companies and FR suppliers. As part of the event, participants were also able to tour FORD’s Rouge Plant to view FORD F150 production and assembly.
The technical program consisted of sixteen presentations plus two panel discussions. Keynote speeches included “Evolution of Automotive Standards for Flammability, Odor and Emissions” by Jeffrey Helms of Celanese. Odor in the car interior is a big topic especially in Asia, where customers seem to be more sensitive to chemical emissions (“new car smell”) than Westerners. China has just issued a very stringent new standard on emissions. The Chinese leading role in growing the share of “New Energy Vehicles” was elaborated by Cindy Liu from Clariant China. Shashank Modi of Center for Automotive Research presented “Impact of Automated, Connected, Electrified & Shared Mobility (ACES)” pointing to new safety challenges for autonomous cars with occupants who might even be sleeping. Susan Mack of Aptiv (formerly Delphi) presented design trends in automotive interiors/entertainment systems. Roger Avakian of Polyone discussed “Supply of FR Advanced Materials to the Transportation Industry: A Technical Perspective on Past, Present and Future Requirements”. Hoa Pham of Freudenberg Performance Materials presented work in flame retardant non-wovens for acoustic and thermal applications. Jason Huczek of SWRI presented a paper concerning U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s work related to bus fire safety and interior automotive flammability requirements. Here he reported on a project to review FMVSS 302, however, not with the goal to increase flammability requirements (it was difficult for him to find reference materials that would actually fail the test), but rather making the test “more reproducible and robust”. Robert Crescenzo (Vice-President) of Lancer Insurance discussed motor coach fire safety. His company, the largest insurer of motor coaches in U.S., has seen 300 bus fire claims since 2007. During his talk, he described the efforts underway to prevent bus fires and protect passengers from injury related to fire causes. Alex Morgan (UDRI) and Ritch Koeth of ASchulman gave informative presentations with regard to formulating and testing of materials for automotive applications.
The conference was well received and pinfa North America is looking forward to hosting its next annual conference during April / May 2019 concerning electrical and electronic device fire safety in San Jose, California.
pinfa North America http://www.pinfa-na.org/