Robust Design of a Light Weight Flush Mount Roof Rack
Roof racks are designed for carrying luggage during customers' travels. These rails need to be strong enough to be able to carry the luggage weight as well as be able to withstand aerodynamic loads that are generated when the vehicle is travelling at high speeds on highways. Traditionally, roof rail gage thickness is increased to account for these load cases (since these are manufactured by extrusion), but doing so leads to increased mass which adversely affects fuel efficiency. The current study focuses on providing the guidelines for strategically placing lightening holes and optimizing gage thickness so that the final design is robust to noise parameters and saves the most mass without adversely impacting wind noise performance while minimizing stress. The project applied Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) techniques to optimize roof rail parameters in order to improve the load carrying capacity while minimizing mass.