The Society of Plastic Engineers annual Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) took place September 11-13, 2012 in Troy, Mich. The conference and exhibition is designed to educate and update all participants on the benefits and expanding importance of thermoset and thermoplastic composites in passenger vehicles, light trucks, and other ground transportation applications.

This year’s event included keynote speakers, panel discussions, and presentations on topics ranging from the manufacturing and processing of carbon fibers to the advancements of Thermoplastics in the auto industry. ACMA’s John Busel, director of Composite Growth Initiative, attended ACCE and left with a positive outlook. “I was amazed to see so many engineers excited to learn more about composites,” says Busel. “The facility was completely maxed out.” Overall, Busel boasted about the wonderful programs he had the privilege of enjoying. Topics about carbon fiber and pre-form technology stood out the most for him. “There are a lot of major advancements being made when it comes to pre-form technology and to hear about how those advancements have elevated is exciting.”

Two ACMA’s members, Terry O’Donovan of Core Molding Technologies Inc. and Cedric Ball of Momentive, gave an introduction to composites presentations with a focus on thermosets. “The room was packed, every seat was filled. Standing room only,” says Busel of the amphitheater where our ACMA members held their presentation. By the end of the conference, Busel had come across many inspiring and insightful things. One process that caught his eye was a discussion on high pressure RTM (resin transfer molding). “The automotive industry is getting motivated to add high pressure to the RTM process. That would advance process speeds tremendously.”

Busel says he’s excited for the advancement of composites in the automotive industry and the overall satisfaction that he had with SPE. “I have to tip my hat to SPE, the event went very well. This shows an excitement in the automotive industry that they haven’t seen in a long time.”