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Technical Paper

A Low Cost, Lightweight Solution for Soft Seamless Airbag Systems

OEM and Tier One integrated suppliers are in constant search of cockpit system components that reduce the overall number of breaks across smooth surfaces. Traditionally, soft instrument panels with seamless airbag systems have required a separate airbag door and a tether or steel hinge mechanism to secure the door during a deployment. In addition, a scoring operation is necessary to ensure predictable, repeatable deployment characteristics. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the development and performance of a cost-effective soft instrument panel with a seamless airbag door that results in a reduced number of parts and a highly efficient manufacturing process. Because of the unique characteristics of this material, a cost-effective, lightweight solution to meet both styling requirements, as well as safety and performance criteria, can be attained.
Technical Paper

Towards Improved Halogen Lighting Performance using a Combination of High Luminous Flux Sources and a Lens Material Approach

Currently, automobile manufacturers receive automotive headlamp assemblies from headlamp manufacturers with outer lenses produced of clear or slightly blue tinted polycarbonate. Such headlamp designed to provide optimized light output have very similar aesthetics, and leave little room to differentiate one car platform from another, using the outer lens color. With edge glow technology a car manufacturer can provide an appealing aesthetic look (edge glow effect) from the outer lens. Additionally, this technology can be used to improve the quality of the beam color emitted through the outer lens. Dependent on the chosen combination of halogen source and lens formulation, a range of beam colors spanning from halogen to HID is attainable, where the beam pattern and color continue to conform to the applicable SAE and ECE beam photometry and color standards and regulations.
Technical Paper

Integrated Energy-Management Systems:Market Trends, OEM Needs, & Business Opportunities for the Tier 1 Community

Recent vehicle design trends require bumper systems to be crashworthy under more demanding circumstances, e.g. tighter package space, heavier vehicle mass, and wider rail spans. Meanwhile, pressure to reduce cost and weight of bumpers continues at a time when roles in the supplier community are changing. These factors have combined to increase the importance of optimizing bumper design and material properties for specific platforms. Materials suppliers have responded by developing a range of specialized engineering thermoplastic (ETP) resins that can help meet increasing performance requirements yet also offer the potential for improved manufacturing productivity, significant weight savings, and systems cost reductions. Material suppliers have also increased the level of technical design support provided to OEMs and 1st Tier suppliers.
Technical Paper

A Structural Instrument Panel from Glass-Mat Thermoplastic for the Small-Car Market

Designers and engineers encounter many challenges in developing vehicles for the small-car market. They face constant pressure to reduce both mass and cost while still producing vehicles that meet environmental and safety requirements. At the same time, today's discriminating consumers demand the highest quality in their vehicles. To accommodate these challenges, OEMs and suppliers are working together to improve all components and systems for the high-volume small-car market. An example of this cooperative effort is a project involving an integrated structural instrument panel (IP) designed to meet the specific needs of the small-car platform. Preliminary validation of the IP project, which uses a compression-molded, glass-mat-thermoplastic (GMT) composite and incorporates steel and magnesium, indicates it will significantly reduce part count, mass, assembly time, and overall cost.
Technical Paper

Energy-Absorbing Thermoplastics for Head Impact Applications

The August 1996 expansion of FMVSS 201 established head impact performance criteria for upper interior components This standard has forced automotive manufacturers, designers, and suppliers to change their thinking for interiors, especially pillars, compliance with FMVSS 201 will require new, structural designs and energy-absorbing materials An ongoing study has examined the implications of FMVSS 201 and its effect on pillars The results of this study have demonstrated how energy-absorbing engineering thermoplastics can be used to meet and exceed the requirements of the head impact legislation through single-piece pillar trims
Technical Paper

Field Performance and Repair of Thermoplastic Exterior Body Panel Systems

Thermoplastic body panels are emerging in the industry as automotive manufacturers seek to design for advanced aerodynamic styling, lower weight, and cost effective vehicles. To best exhibit the advantages of GE thermoplastic resins in these applications, an extensive study has been completed to demonstrate the impact performance of thermoplastic body panels in the field based on the current success with the Buick LeSabre T-Type, Buick Reatta, and the Cadillac Deville and Fleetwood models using NORYL GTX® 910 resin fenders. This study provides a “real life” scenario of the advantages of thermoplastics compared to steel in body panel applications.