Implementing Simulation Driven Product Development for Thermoforming of an Instrument Panel 2013-01-0642
In this case study, the thermoforming of an automotive instrument panel is considered. The effect of different oven settings on the final material distribution is studied using structural FEA simulation. The variable thickness distribution of the thermoformed part is mapped onto a structural model using a new simple mapping algorithm, and a structural FEA simulation is carried out to examine the final warpage of the instrument panel. The simulation predicts that the minimum thickness of the formed part can be increased by 10% by optimizing the oven settings. Although the optimized process uses oven settings that are less uniform than the baseline settings, the model indicates that warpage experienced by the optimized part will be less than that of the baseline case.