An Overview of Recent Material Improvements in Instrument Panel Systems 980066
The manner in which instrument panels (IPs) are designed and manufactured has changed considerably over the past decade. Recent trends such as increased size and complexity and seamless airbag designs have put pressure on suppliers of engineering thermoplastics (ETP) to provide new formulations that offer improved mechanical properties for higher performance or thinner wall designs; opportunities to lower costs through components integration and reduced materials usage; and the potential for higher manufacturing productivity via faster cycle times. Materials suppliers have responded with a variety of new products, in many cases designed specifically for instrument panel applications. Several of these products are the subject of this paper and will be introduced in terms of the performance benefits they can provide to IP designers and manufacturers.