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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition


Return to Automotive Innovation Awards
How does my company benefit from participating?
Who can make a nomination?
Is my application eligible?
How do I know if my application has been previously nominated, and/or whether it is innovative enough?
What are the categories, and is the judging criteria the same for each category?
My part could fit multiple categories; which one do I enter it in?

How does my company benefit from participating?
  • The process drives and rewards innovative thinking.
  • The process drives competitive excellence
  • Learn about the latest innovations from other engineers and designers.
  • Reward the team and company through worldwide recognition.


Who can make a nomination?
  • Nominations can be made by anyone knowledgeable of the achievement - material supplier, molder, Tier 1/2/3, tool maker, OEM, etc.
  • OEM approval is required for the nomination to be considered.


Is my application eligible?
  • Parts must be in mass production and on a vehicle that is available for consumer purchase by November 1 of the year of the judging.
  • There is no minimum number of vehicles that must be produced.
  • The application (innovation) cannot have previously been nominated.




How do I know if my application has been previously nominated, and/or whether it is innovative enough?
  • You really canít. Nominations submitted as far back as 1999 can be viewed at our Awards Module page on our website HERE, but it can be tedious going through the various nominations. You can speak to members of the SPE Automotive Division board for guidance.
  • If there is any doubt, we strongly encourage you to nominate your application. If it has been nominated previously, we will let you know. Many times people are so involved in the application development process that the innovation and uniqueness of their application has become lost to them.


What are the categories, and is the judging criteria the same for each category?
  • The categories are Body Interior, Body Exterior, Chassis/Hardware, Electrical Systems, Powertrain, Materials, Environmental, Process/Assembly/Enabling Technologies, and Hall of Fame.
  • For Interior, Exterior, Chassis/Hardware, Electrical Systems, and Powertrain, the judging compares the attributes of the nomination to the others in the same category. These tend to be design related innovations, but often have process or materials innovations that helped the application succeed. Examples for the above might include a new invisible airbag tear seam design, a new bumper energy absorber, metal replacement for Powertrain, a new plastic door module, etc.
  • In the Materials category, the focus of the evaluation is how innovative is the material used in the application, and the benefits the new material provides, with less emphasis on the actual part or application. Past winners include Nano-composite TPO, carbon fiber SMC, and UV stable TPU for IP skins.
  • The Environmental category looks at the long term sustainability of plastics. Applications should be nominated if they make use of post-industrial or post-consumer recyclate, a bio polymer, or a natural fiber reinforcement, especially in decorative or structural applications. Also, if an application is uniquely designed for recycling it may compete well.
  • The Process/Assembly/Enabling Technologies category is less about an innovation design or a unique material than how a part is produced. For example, this is the category to use when the primary innovation is about modifications to the molding process, joining/assembly method, or when a unique addtive or finishing technology that was used to produce a part. Once a part produced via a hybrid or new process has been submitted, another part made with the same process cannot be submitted in this category in following years; however, the part can compete in one of the other categories.
  • The Hall of Fame Award will be presented for an innovative application that stood the test of time, being in continuous production for over 15 years.


My part could fit multiple categories, so which one should I select?
  • This happens very often, when a new design requires development of a new resin and/or new processing techniques. By answering the questions in the nomination form, this can often lead you to identify the single most innovative aspect of the application.
  • Place the nomination in the category you believe it best fits. The screening judges may move it to another category upon further review.
  • The nomination may also be moved to another category if that category is filled with strong nominations. For example, an exterior nomination with unique process may be moved to the Process/Enabling Technologies category if that category has a low number of nominations.
  • Our objective is to get nomination in the category that will allow them to compete best, and have the best chance to win.