43nd Automotive Innovation Awards: Safety


The Safety award winner was the side airbag cover on the 2013 Ford Fusion mid-size sedan. The part was manufactured from a TPO resin from Mitsubishi Chemical. The system supplier was Autoliv. The material processor is Atlantic Precision Products; the tooling and equipment supplier is Great Lakes Mold & Engineering.

Winner of the category Safety

Side airbag cover

OEM/vehicle: Ford Motor/2013 Ford Fusion mid-size sedan

System supplier: Autoliv

Material processor: Atlantic Precision Products

Material supplier: Mitsubishi

Resin: TT914 CNP TPO

Tooling/equipment supplier: Great Lakes Mold & Engineering

TPO resin is intended to maintain Class A appearance of the side airbag cover during normal use but also to deliver proper airbag deployment in case of need. (photos: SPE)

Replacing conventional metal cans and plastic covers, this is the first time an insert-moulded bracket/cover assembly has been designed to be both mounting surface for the seat side airbag (SAB) as well as integral to performance and cosmetic function of the cover. This unique design meets styling studio requests for a thin seat, but providing packaging space for increasingly large SABs, which now protect occupants from chest to pelvis. A cantilevered metal bracket allows for efficient assembly at the airbag supplier, reducing part counts and saving weight. Extensive filling and tooling development were used to ensure proper bracket encapsulation. Tough TPO resin maintains Class A appearance during normal use but delivers proper airbag deployment in a side-impact event.

Finalist of the category Safety

Collapsible armrest for side impact

OEM/vehicles: Ford Motor/2013 Ford Edge & Lincoln MKX CUVs

System supplier: Johnson Controls

Material processor: Johnson Controls

Material supplier: Styron

Resin: Magnum 3325MT ABS

Tooling/equipment supplier: Toolplas Systems

Collapsible armrest made from PVC and ABS

This injection-moulded armrest has been specially designed to maintain full integrity for NVH, comfort, aesthetics and durability during normal service life yet to detach and collapse during lateral loading from a side impact. Using PVC and ABS materials, the design features a single-piece insert and armrest with moulded-in slots that create a slip plane that is rigid enough for normal use but creates a failure path that provides for reduced occupant injury numbers. It also reduces material usage and costs 25% and a 15% reduction in assembly costs.

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