The first grill opening reinforcement (GOR) made with thermoplastic will debut on the 2003 Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition. Using Rynite PET polyester resin from DuPont, Wilmington, Del. (www.dupont.com/automotive), Ford engineers teamed up with Venture Industries, Fraser, Mich. (www.ventureindustries.com), to design the GOR, which replaces a thermoset sheet-molding compound (SMC) component. Rynite reduces assembly time by eliminating labor-intensive drilling and trimming steps that an SMC GOR requires. Also, the material resists heat sag so warping is less of a problem during e-coat curing at 378°F. Customized water-cooling lets the mold cool in 2 min, down from 8. "The GOR is crucial for the fit and alignment of front end vehicle components," says Nick Stanziola of Venture Industries. "The excellent strength and resistance to warpage from Rynite helps ensure essential parts, such as headlights, stay properly focused and fenders line up precisely with the hood."