The automotive industry is continually striving for opportunities to take additional cost and mass out of vehicle systems. Large parts such as an Instrument Panel retainer are good candidates because a small percent reduction in mass can translate into a significant material mass savings. Multiple requirements for a soft instrument panel including safety, stiffness, adhesion, etc. can make these savings difficult to achieve.
This paper will describe how a new material and process development for the fabrication of a soft instrument panel can produce 50% weight savings with a 20% cost reduction potential. In addition, this new technology exhibits improved performance over existing materials during safety testing.