Automotive fixturing has long been in Lucas Industries repertoire of support technologies on offer to customers. Form, Fit and Function gaging devices for windows, body side moulding nests, body styling models and prototype headliners have all been produced during recent years. Prototyping of new composite products has been accomplished to support development and testing activities prior to full production release. Moderate quantity runs of specialty parts such as polcarbonate side windows have been developed and fabricated for extensive environmental and functional performance testing programs. Other products have ranged from fuel cell membranes to fiberglass reinforced headliners, door panel molds and motorcycle saddle bag covers. Pedestrian compliant bumper structures have also been some of the latest composite parts to be prototyped for testing.
Automotive Case Study 1 - Aeromark Car
Lucas was contracted to design and build a car using the Aeromark 80 liquid board. The design was created on our CATIA work station. Our engineering staff used their own concepts to arrive at the final contour.
Inexpensive and lightweight 8-pound density foam used as a filter material. The usage of this foam over a solid modeling board eliminates the need for heavy and expensive base plates and produces substantial savings in material costs.
The Aeromark 80 material was applied over the machined foam structure. The thickness of the liquid board averaged 2". The CNC machining was identical in feeds and speeds of the popular solid boards.
CATIA: Trademark of IBM
Aeromark: Trademark of Landec Corporation, Menlo Park, CA
Automotive Case Study 2 - Automotive Transparencies
A major development project was undertaken for GE Plastics to create polycarbonate side and rear window units. The benefits of replacing glass in these areas include weight reduction, improved roll-over safety, and better overall vehicle security from theft or car jacking.
In order to fabricate these complex shaped windows, Lucas developed a special procedure that allowed thermoforming and press polishing in one step. Critical materials were used to protect the polycarbonate sheet from scratching prior to application of a hard abrasion resistant finish. Stringent inspection and handling methods were implemented to maintain maximum clarity and overall visual quality throughout the build process.
Edge trimming was accomplished by radius bit router operations and a final chemical polishing done to smooth off the cut surfaces.
Each relatively soft polycarbonate unit was sent through a flow coating line and then through an additional chemical vapor deposition process to enhance the scratch and abrasion resistance of the plastic surfaces. This two step procedure yielded excellent transparency while providing the increased damage and toughness criteria required in this challenging application.
Thousands of these units were fabricated to support the extensive engineering test regime necessary to advance the technology to a mature level for future production.
Here are some photos of our recent Automotive projects: