“Meet the faces of REVOLUTION” Episode 10 Centro Ricerche Fiat

Andrea Martos

Centro Ricerche FIAT (CRF), a Stellantis Group Company, founded in 1978, has the mission to develop and transfer innovative products, processes and methodologies in order to improve the competitiveness of the products of the FCA. Also through the cooperation with a pan-European and increasingly global network of more than 1700 partners from Industry and academia, CRF conducts collaborative research initiatives at the national and international levels in partnership with all the key public and private stakeholders concerned with Sustainable Mobility, targeting specifically the industrial exploitation of research.

CRF’s involved Department, MSE (Materials & Sustainability Engineering) is the Department in charge of materials management of the South Europe Technical Centre. The activity of the Plastic Group starts from scouting and research, moving on to development and characterization, design and process support, ending with the failure analysis. Today the Plastic Group is strongly involved in the Stellantis global Green Materials project that aims, for the plastic materials, at the application of recycled, bio-sourced and natural fibres reinforced materials.

Graduated in Mechanical Engineer at Politecnico of Turin in 1992. Enrico Mangino works in CRF since then about polymeric materials: initially focused on polymeric processes numerical analyses, also coupled with structural analyses, he extended his experiences with the design of polymeric components and manufacturing problem solving. He has been involved in many European projects and Thematic Networks working as local leader and automotive applications expert, referring to polymeric components. He is involved in FCA/Stellantis’s innovation activities about polymers and under-the-hood plastic applications.

Hi, Enrico. It is a pleasure for me to talk with you. First topic is: Rear Seatback panel is an output of the project, which are the value-added points in economic, environmental and social terms?

“Hi, Andrea. Thank you for this interview. The development of a SRPP (Self-reinforced polypropylene) that can be applied in the automotive sector is very important because it is the answer to the request for lightweight materials with high impact resistance. These materials can be applied in different vehicle areas like the rear seatback panel (visible and aesthetic application) or the door inner panel (pure structural application). This material allows substituting heavier materials applied today as steel or Woodstock (compressed wood flower mixed with PP for thermoforming applications), thus reducing the vehicle weight.

As the SRPP is an aesthetic material, its application on the back panel allows substituting both the structural metallic panel and the aesthetic textile cover; today the textile cover is applied on all the cars except the cheaper version of city cars.

Weight reduction means an economic advantage for the car owner, lower fuel consumption and a lower CO2 emission, advantage for the environment.”

Do you think that this result will have large impact in your enterprise’s main activities?

“Stellantis is today moving from the production of traditional ICE vehicle production towards BEV vehicles. The development of electrical powered vehicles is boosting the research and development of lightweight materials and SRPP is a real candidate for this role.”

In your opinion, what degree of acceptance could REVOLUTION results in the Automotive field?

“Two years ago, CRF started a huge activity scouting and validating about 200 plastic materials with a recycled content. These materials are today the core of three new FCA material standards. Other materials are under evaluation.

Since the beginning of 2022, the Stellantis Green Materials project greatly increased the application of recycled plastic materials on all the current and future projects, involving all the designers in charge of the various vehicle systems. The whole Company is aware of the importance and necessity to introduce recycled materials.

According to this, it is possible to state that the automotive field is ready to accept Revolution results.”

“…The development of electrical powered vehicles is boosting the research and development of lightweight materials and SRPP is a real candidate for this role.”

Enrico Mangino