43nd Automotive Innovation Awards: Body Interior


The Body Interior Award winner of the 43rd Automotive Innovation Awards Competition was the optimised instrument panel for mass reduction on the 2014 Jeep Cherokee SUV from Chrysler Group. System supplier and materials processor Intertec Systems, materials supplier Sabic and tooling/equipment supplier Windsor Mold Group also were named on the award.

Winner of the category Body Interior

Optimised instrument panel for mass reduction

OEM/vehicle: Chrysler Group/2014 Jeep Cherokee SUV

Tier supplier / processor: Intertec Systems

Material supplier: Sabic

Tooling supplier: Windsor Mold Group

Material/process: Stamax 30YK270 PP/thinwall injection moulding

Thinwall PP retainer (photos: SPE)

This is North America’s first IP retainer moulded at 2mm walls in LFT-PP composite. Wallstocks on typical injection moulded olefin IPs run 2.5-4mm. Thinwall moulding helps reduce cycle times 30%, part weight 27%, and costs € 2.17/vehicle (US $3/vehicle). The 30% GR LFT-PP resin provides required stiffness, strength and impact performance to meet interior safety requirements at great value. It also helps reduce plastics consumption by 1.1MM kg (2.5MM lb) over the life of the programme. Use of advanced fibre-orientation modeling helped reduce warpage during mould design.

Finalist of the category Body Interior

Smart foil door-trim technology

OEM/vehicle: General Motors/2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray sports car

Tier supplier/processor: International Automotive Components Group

Material supplier: Advanced Composites & CGT

Tooling supplier: Hi-Tech Mold & Engr.

Material/process: AD X5041 & WR-T4BAAC-600R TPO/injection moulding

TPO door trim

Innovative door-trim technology gives improved performance at lower cost versus conventional in-mould grained, interior trim components while reducing weight 5%, direct costs 7%, and indirect costs 3%. Thanks to a special TPO material specifically developed for this application and a proprietary in-mould process technology (where a skin is inserted into an injection mould before the tool is shut and a substrate is injected behind to create the trim panel), the need for adhesive and secondary process steps and fixture are eliminated.The resultant skin has reduced abrasion and scratch & mar for improved customer satisfaction while also lowering VOC emissions (by eliminating adhesive).

Finalist of the category Body Interior

MIC living hinge in a steering-column cover

OEM/vehicle: Ford Motor/2013 Fusion midsize sedan

System supplier: International Automotive Components Group

Material processor: International Automotive Components Group

Material supplier: Advanced Composites

Material/process: ATX832N PP/injection moulding

Tooling/equipment supplier: Roush

Living hinge moulded in steering-column cover

By moulding a living hinge into steering-column covers, two parts are reduced to one, greater functionality and increased visual appeal are achieved, and costs are reduced €50,83 (US $70,000) for tooling and €0.8/vehicle (US $1.10/vehicle). During vehicle assembly, it is easier to package electrical wiring, and less wire is needed, contributing another €0.30/vehicle savings (US $0.40/vehicle savings). The hinged cover hides screw attachments to the IP yet permits easier access to the on-board diagnostics (OBD) connection and fuse panel. The 20% talc-filled PP is injection moulded in a two-cavity tool with large tooling action and localised gating. Each living hinge is flexed 3x post-moulding to ensure long service life.

Finalist of the category Body Interior

Decklid trim with self-locking feature

OEM/vehicle: Ford Motor/2013 Fusion midsize sedan

System supplier: Autoneum

Material processor: Janesville Acoustics

Material supplier: Washington Penn Plastic

Material/process: PET/multiple

Tooling/equipment supplier: RCO

Decklid trim with self-locking feature

A straight slit in the initial decklid trim was used for pass-through installation over trunk-lid hinges, but this caused issues with visible sheet metal, poor retention and poor appearance. Hook and loop fasteners were considered, but added cost and labour, were challenging to install, and potentially contributed to squeak and rattle. Button or clip attachments also added cost, labour and tooling, were visible and offered potential fit issues. The patent-pending solution involved water-jet cutting a puzzle-shape feature to make the cover self-locking. Appearance was improved and assembly made easier, plus no costs were added and implementation time was short.

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