Hybrid design means weight reductions

Global teamwork between Ford and Dow Automotive has led to the development of a `hybrid’ instrument panel for the new Mercury Cougar sports coupe which has eliminated ten parts, reduced the weight by 1.8kg, and cut the cost compared with a traditional instrument panel.

The new instrument panel combines a traditional steel structural beam with a retainer made from Pulse PC/ABS resin. The design takes advantage of the energy management capabilities of Pulse resin to help the Cougar meet the North American and European standards for occupant safety, while at the same time meeting performance targets.

`From the start, we knew we needed to work within certain parameters of Mercury’s traditional instrument panel architecture, which involved the steel cross car beam,’ says Rick Lee, interior market manager for Dow Automotive. `We proposed the hybrid system, using a ductile thermoplastic to complement the steel beam. The idea was to reduce the number of steel components and use plastic to do more of the energy management work. This steel optimisation saved both weight and cost.’

The new design eliminated seven steel brackets from the cross-car structure.

Dow Automotive Tel: +1 248 351 8761