Resin materials to be used in automobiles must possess high rigidity and high impact resistance, as well as superior recyclability — that is, they must not deteriorate easily when recycled.
Taking advantage of a molecular-design technology based on a new crystallization theory, Toyota in 1991 developed and commercialized Toyota Super Olefin Polymer (TSOP), a thermoplastic resin which has better recyclability than the conventional reinforced composite polypropylene (PP). TSOP is currently used in a wide range of interior and exterior parts in new models.
Further refinements to the molecular design of TSOP resin have made it possible to integrate three kinds of resins from 24 kinds that had, until then, been in use. Toyota has been using this improved material since September 1999.
Toyota developed eco plastics from plant materials, which can effectively conserve natural petroleum resources and reduce CO2 emissions and first used them in Raum models' spare tire covers.
In 2008, Toyota developed new eco plastics for use in interior components, such as scuff plates and seat cushions. In fact, these new plastics are used in interior components of new Prius, HS and SAI models.
Toyota is also working on using natural kenaf plant fibers in door and package tray trim base materials.
Spare tire cover made of eco plastic
Seat cushion made of eco plastic (driver seat)
Door trim base material that uses kenaf
In order to simplify the dismantling process, Toyota has adopted easy-to-dismantle vehicle structures, such as V-shaped grooves in locations where the instrument panel is to be attached to the body. In addition, an "Easy to Dismantle Mark" is added to vehicle parts, clearly indicating certain points that assist in initial dismantling. Through these measures, vehicle dismantlability has been greatly improved.
The "The Easy to Dismantle Mark"
In 1981, Toyota launched a material ID marking system to help identify materials used in resin parts. Currently, a marking system that conforms to international standards is used for resin and rubber parts.
Example of ID marking