Browse Publications Technical Papers 2001-01-1272
2001-03-05

Thinwall Injection Molding for Instrument Panels 2001-01-1272

As the global auto industry wrote the final chapter on its first century, we saw the average thickness of an automotive instrument panel drop from 3.0 mm-3.5 mm to 2.0 mm-2.3 mm, as found in the 1999 Volkswagen Jetta and Golf. By reducing the wall thickness of the instrument panel, Volkswagen started an industry trend: both OEMs and tiers are investigating technologies to produce parts that combine a lower cost-per-part via material optimization and cycle-time reduction with the superior performance of engineering thermoplastics. The goal is to produce parts that are positioned more competitively at every stage of the development cycle - from design, to manufacturing, to assembly, to “curb appeal” on the showroom floor.
The key to this manufacturing and design “sweet spot” is a technology called thinwall - the molding of plastic parts from engineering thermoplastics with wall thicknesses thinner than conventional parts of similar geometry. The actual cutoff in thickness will vary based on a number of variables, including the size and flow length of the part.
Automotive designers and manufacturers are starting to explore the potential of thinwall technology as a cost-reducing processing method that enables faster cycle times and lighter-weight parts using less material.
The potential benefits of thinwall go far beyond the ability to produce smaller, lighter-weight, thermoplastic parts. While it is tempting to assign a thickness at which there is a transition from standard wall to thinwall, the actual cutoff will vary with the size and flow length of the part. The methodology of thinwall technology can be applied at any thickness.
This paper will focus on key design development tools used to facilitate the development of low-cost thinwall instrument panel systems utilizing high performance engineering resins.

SAE MOBILUS

Subscribers can view annotate, and download all of SAE's content. Learn More »

Access SAE MOBILUS »

Members save up to 18% off list price.
Login to see discount.
Special Offer: Download multiple Technical Papers each year? TechSelect is a cost-effective subscription option to select and download 12-100 full-text Technical Papers per year. Find more information here.
We also recommend:
TECHNICAL PAPER

Evaluation of Instrument Panel Designs for Cost of Manufacture and Environmental Impact

980440

View Details

TECHNICAL PAPER

Introduction of a Castable Thermoplastic Urethane Material for Instrument Panel Coverstock

980063

View Details

TECHNICAL PAPER

Mold-In-Color Instrument Panel with Invisible Airbag

2005-01-0978

View Details

X