Structural Magnesium Front End Support Assembly 2003-01-0186
This paper describes a new concept for a Ford F-150 light truck Front End Support Assembly (FESA) based on a one-piece die cast structural magnesium component. This new FESA reduces the number of parts and therefore the complexity of manufacturing and assembly, it integrates a multi-piece weldment assembly into a die cast part, and it considerably decreases mass compared to its steel counterpart. The design also reduces FESA cost.
Major design criteria included corrosion protection, crashworthiness assessments, Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH) performance, durability and Ford assembly plant constraints. Die casting requirements included feasibility for large volume production, coating strategy and assembly constraints.
The resulting design used the flexibility present in a magnesium die-casting that would not be possible using conventional steel stampings and assembly techniques. Section properties of the magnesium die-casting were easily modified to develop a structure with the necessary structural characteristics that balanced NVH, durability, stiffness, and crash (deformation absorption capability). These performance targets were achieved while maintaining a competitive business case.