Development of an Integrated Structural HVAC Instrument Panel Cockpit System 2002-01-0309
The automotive industry is applying the concept of modularity to numerous automotive applications. Door modules, front-end modules, seating systems and instrument panel (IP) cockpits are examples of this trend. These systems offer advantages of part reduction and elimination, assembly line optimization, inventory reduction, and sub-system level design and validation.
An IP cockpit is one of the most complex vehicle systems, not only because of the large number of components, but because of the numerous build variations available to the OEM. The OEM realizes maximum benefit when the IP cockpit is assembled as a module. The Integrated Structural HVAC System (ISHS) described here was designed and developed to enable the IP cockpit to be a modular system while realizing the benefits of mass reduction, cost reduction and packaging flexibility.
This paper describes the components, functionality and performance that make up the ISHS system. It describes the level of integration realized in the IP cockpit module. This required balancing various functional attributes including safety, durability, styling, and thermal performance, while optimizing the program imperatives of timing, mass and cost. The ISHS structure uses a smaller overall package space, facilitating greater styling flexibility, and allows for a common IP structure to be used across multiple vehicle lines. This results in the advantage of volume buying for the OEM.