20 Dec 2018

The introduction of plastics in the automotive industry had a profound change in the sector.


The development of multiple applications for plastic-based materials in vehicles has had a vast impact on the comfort and safety of drivers, as well as reduced fuel consumption.



Though the increase use of plastics for single-use applications has created a genuine environmental problem, the use of plastics in the automotive industry had brought a net benefit for the environment. For a start, the production of plastic components uses significantly less energy than that of the materials they have replaced, such as steel.


The increased use of plastics has also reduced the amount of emissions that result form driving. If all the technological advances seen in the automotive industry in the last 30 years had been developed using traditional materials like steel, cars today would be far heavier, and would therefore consume more fuel.


There are many other advantages that plastics bring to cars today. In terms of passenger safety, plastics offer superior shock-absorption capacity to bumpers and anti-explosion properties to fuel tanks, as well as all the safety features in cars that we take for granted, like child seats, safety belts and airbags. There are also innovations in design and comfort that are a direct result of plastic’s unique molding properties, which would be financially impossible to achieve if other materials were used.


In Portugal, the automotive industry’s impact in the national economy is of increasing relevance, as can be seen in these figures from 2016:


  • 6% of GDP (€10.25B)
  • 20% of exports
  • 27% of all industrial jobs created (2012-2016)
  • €670M invested in the sector, an increase of 34% compared to 2012


As an established distributor of industrial raw materials, Salmon has a growing presence in the supply of plastics for the automotive industry and has a dedicated team that services all relevant manufacturers, from injection molders to extruders.


In extrusion, we provide key materials for the production of automotive textiles and wire & cable applications, thus contributing to the high standards the sector demands. These include very fine grades of calcium carbonate from our Omya plant, solid and hollow glass beads from Potters, organic and inorganic pigments from Ferro, as well as Laviosa’s NANOCLAY additives.


Kraiburg’s thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) set the quality standard in the sector, and are used in various components in the automotive industry, including in engine transmission systems, high-performance clutches and various control instruments like buttons and switches.


We are also currently forging new partnerships with Kingfa and Polyram, markets leaders in the development of high-performance plastic materials, to distribute their engineering polymers, more notably in the automotive sector. With this new product range, we are able to respond to a wider range of clients’ needs for homologated products, such as PA, ABS and PBT with glass fiber for side panels, technical parts behind the dashboard or components related to cabling systems.

The products we distribute are inside the vehicles of leading manufacturers. We have managed this not only by proving top-quality materials, but also as a result of the trust-based relationships we’ve developed over the years, always providing a service that focuses above all on our clients’ needs.


Do not hesitate to contact us for a more detailed presentation of our product portfolio!


Pedro Jorge – (injection molding)


Vítor Teixeira – (extrusion)