Functional plastics make it possible: smart, comfortable and ultra-light interior concepts for the vehicles of the future. Insights were given by plastics and automotive experts at the “PIAE 2018” (Plastics In Automotive Engineering) in Mannheim on 14 – 15 March.
The PIAE 2018, the world’s largest congress for plastics experts in the automotive industry, ended successfully on Wednesday. Decision-makers from all over the world used the PIAE again to inform, network and discuss. The main topic: Demands of the automotive megatrends on the plastics industry. Lectures were given in the fields of interior and exterior, lightweight construction, design and e-mobility.
Demands of the automotive megatrends
Mobility is changing. Automobile megatrends such as electrification, automation and digitization are the driving forces here. At the PIAE 2018, these topics also provided new impulses. “The vehicle concepts of the future will, in my estimation, offer even more diverse mobility”, says Thomas Drescher, new conference Chair of PIAE and head of the Vehicle Technology Division of Volkswagen AG Wolfsburg. In his presentation, he focused in particular on the challenges of the materials for the vehicle concepts of the future. These he described as “smartphones on wheels, easy and intuitive to use, with voice and gesture control. They are capable of learning because they have artificial intelligence on board. The highlight: You will drive autonomously, so you can do without a driver and steering wheel”
Plastic also plays a key role in lightweight construction. Particularly interesting for industry experts are metal-plastic hybrids. “They offer a high potential in terms of affordable lightweight construction in conjunction with functional integration,” emphasized Joachim Melzig, Head of Pre-Development Interior Home Construction at BMW Group Landshut at the PIAE 2018 press conference.
Future-oriented interior concepts
The congress was accompanied by an extensive trade exhibition with affiliated automobile salon. Here, the participants were able to gain concrete insights into the plastic innovations of the industry. For example, the VW Future Interior Concept gives you an idea of how we could travel in the future. The lounge-like interior of the Concept-Car is equipped with four individually rotatable and lowerable seats. In the imagination of VW designers, the vehicle drives autonomously outside the city center; Steering wheel and controls are then simply retracted. The driver of the future can, thus, use the newly created open spaces to relax or work.
About the PIAE
With around 1,400 participants and 120 exhibitors from 14 countries, the event continues its 40-year track record under a new name. Since its renaming (formerly using the german term ‘KIA – Kunststoffe im Automobilbau’ to the international ‘PIAE – Plastics in Automotive Engineering’), the international focus has now been reflected in this name. The PIAE is already seeing an increase of visitors and exhibitors from abroad.
In 2019, the PIAE will take place in Mannheim from 3 to 4 April.