Blow Molded Knee Bolsters: An Alternative Approach 970723
The blow molded knee bolsters on the 1996 Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari vans are the first blow molded parts used on an interior structural application. These knee bolsters also meet FMVSS 208 requirements. The one-piece bolsters, used on both the driver's and passenger's sides of the vehicle reduced cost by $4.00 and weight by 40% per vehicle compared with two-piece, steel-reinforced plastic knee bolsters.
Additional savings were realized in tooling cost reductions of $300,000 and a development time that was shortened by 64 weeks. Part testing was also reduced to the tunability of the process. Aesthetic concerns of matching adjacent injection molded and vinyl parts were also met.
This paper discusses the combination of material, processing and tooling technologies that made this program a success.