For Visteon's headlight-assembly project, Urgent Plastic Services injection molded about 20 design alterations within an 18-month period.
A recent headlamp-assembly project at tier-one automotive supplier Visteon included about 20 design fine-tunings, scores of meetings, and reviews over an 18-month period. Mainly because each element fell under tight scrutiny and lines and contours had to be perfect, with wind, drag, noise, aesthetics, and lighting capacity taken into consideration.
The new headlight design also incorporated the latest technologies. These included high-intensity discharge (HID) and halogen-projector lighting systems, advanced high-strength, high-heat materials, and improved manufacturing processes.
This combination of styling elements and complex manufacturing technologies made prototypes a vital necessity for both the manufacturer and Visteon. To get these production-like prototypes, Visteon used Urgent Plastic Services, a company specializing in rapid prototyping injectionmolded plastic components.
The headlamp project was somewhat special for the firm, relates Steve Kelly, senior sales engineer at Urgent Plastic. "With our rapid-prototyping capabilities, we're geared for fast turnarounds, with two or three-week concept-to-delivery schedules being the norm," he notes. "But occasionally, one or two levels modifications required, so a project's total might extend over a few months. So for us, working on the headlamp assemblies for an 18-month period was remarkable. Of course, much of that time was the development process of testing, reviewing results, incorporating design changes, and repeating the process to validate performance. But taking into account the 20 design changes within 18 months works out to an average prototype every month or so."
Providing prototypes at this pace gave team members from both Cisteon and the automaker time to tweak designs, not only for aesthetics but also to ensure manufacturing intent plus assembly ease and fit.
Urgent Plastic's in-house capabilities played a significant role at every stage of the timely completion of prototypes, including the final injection-molding process. The firm's multiple injection systems range from 75 to 1,500 ton, and the project took the full range, including 220, 500, 850, and 1,500-ton molding machines.
Urgent Plastic Services
Rochester Hills, Mich.