Ricardo Homma
Commercial Director Mexico-Caribe-CAM, Automotive Systems Business

Partnerships Help Build Energy-Efficient Tech

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 23:05

Developing technology is a resource-intensive process and companies are building relationships to deliver innovative technology to their clients. Ricardo Homma, Commercial Director Mexico-Caribe-CAM, Automotive Systems Business at Dow, says a key point is to complement products with the idea of helping both the company and its customers. “We are betting on science and research,” says Homma. “We are in a demanding industry where customers ask for the best in mobility and energy savings.”

Dow has oriented its material-development strategy toward making cars quieter, lighter and more sustainable. “Customers’ needs have changed and so has the environment in which they live,” says Homma. “Previously, drivers looked for safety. Now, they want safety and energy efficiency.” With the introduction of materials such as aluminum and reinforced fiber composites for structural components, Dow's Automotive Systems’ goal has been to offer advanced structural adhesives to help automakers reduce the vehicles' weight.

Traditional welding techniques can only join components made from the same material. However, automakers are now looking for ways to replace steel parts with aluminum and other materials, forcing them to find alternative bonding solutions. According to Homma, adhesives help to reduce

the thickness of the overall assembly and lead to weight reduction of 0.6kg to 1.1kg for every meter of structural adhesive applied. The company has also worked on the development of polyurethane foam technology, mostly used in the production of seats, head and arm rests and other interior components. Homma says Dow’s Automotive System business has focused on developing low-emission foams with a reduced environmental impact during their production.

Dow's Automotive Systems business seeks to improve the company’s solutions. Its partnership with CONACYT is one pillar of its strategy in Mexico. Both players have been working together since 2012, mostly in the development of advanced foams with diverse applications. The partnership has already filed two patents but Homma says the company is keen to continue developing solutions to meet the requirements of OEMs. “CONACYT has been a very good match for us,” says Homma. “We have specialized engineers in our automotive area and this relationship has helped them build their knowledge.” The company’s focus on technology has led it to open a specialized plant in Tlaxcala, which according to Homma is what has helped the Automotive Systems business maintain its position in the sector. “Our corporate vision is 100 percent aligned with our mission of developing advanced raw materials and innovative technology for the industry,” he says.