Structural and Cost Evaluation of Snap Fits used in Connections of Vehicle Door Trim Panel Components with FEA Assist
Among the most important finishing structures of a vehicle interior, the door trim panels reduce external noises, present ergonomic concepts generating comfort, improve appearance, and provide objects storage, knobs and buttons. The panels usually composed of several molded parts (trim, armrest, etc.) connected to each other also have structural function as support closing loads, protect occupants of door internal mechanisms, energy absorption in side impacts and resist misuse conditions. Therefore, these trims usually made of polymeric materials must to present good structural integrity, demanding appropriate connections between components to have good load distribution. The connections between parts can be made using bolts, interference fits (like self-locking), welding tubular plastic towers (heat stakes), or clips (such as snap fits) and last two are the most common due to be cheap and with good retention.