1998-02-23

Development of an Integrated Modular Plastic Electrical Carrier and Flax/Polypropylene Shelf Panel for a Vehicle Rear Shelf System 980727

This paper discusses the rationale for, and details of, the engineering requirements, program management process (PMP), and validation requirements utilized for designing and bringing to production a new and viable alternative for electrical carriers and shelf packages which together provide an effective modular rear shelf system. Also addressed is how child tether requirements are incorporated into the design without negatively affecting time-to-market considerations or cost.
The electrical carrier, traditionally fabricated from stamped steel, can now be functionally improved to accommodate speaker housings, keyless entry module and other feature electrical modules. Proper program management both at Cambridge Industries and the OEM customer (which cannot be identified at this time since the vehicle is in pre-production stage) allowed for advancing this application from steel to plastic in the example provided.
Another revolutionary step which this paper addresses is designing and fabricating the shelf panel utilizing a new process and material technology -- flax polypropylene -- that allows for one-step covering. Today, shelf panels often have carpet added in a secondary step, and are either made from shoddy padding or wood fibre. The flax/polypropylene alternative combines improved structural properties, processing benefits and design ease while allowing for economic functionality.
This approach for design and fabrication of the modular rear shelf system has the capability of becoming the material/process of choice for replacing the current standard.

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