A game-changing use of microcellular foam to reduce weight of instrument panels in the 2012 Ford Escape SUV and Kuga is the Grand Award winner in this year's Automotive Innovation Awards Competition held by the Society of Plastics Engineers. Winners were announced last night at a banquet in Livonia, MI.
Ford engineer Junko Pauken told PlasticsToday.com in an interview that use of the MuCell process in the Escape represents a major effort by Ford to reduce weight through use of the process. One pound is shaved from every vehicle with the lighter instrument panel, which is the largest automotive component molded in the patented MuCell injection-molding process.
In other benefits, cycle time is reduced 15% and clamp tonnage is reduced 45%, saving an estimated $3 per vehicle versus solid injection molding.