A unique tooling innovation reduces part complexity and cost of a liftgate grab handle in the 2012 Ford Focus.
The backside of a 350 degree grab handle is molded into the liftgate trim through use of a four-piece cavity slider that “shuts off” against each of the four pieces. The slide mechanism was designed in house by Ford engineers and designers and the tool was built by Aalbers Tool & Mold (Maidstone, ON) for North American production.
“The challenge we face was offering the customer a 36-degree garb handle for the price of a pullcup by eliminating one part of a traditional two-part grab handle,” says William Bauer, a senior engineer at Ford Motor Co.(Dearborn, MI). Ford applied for a patent (Disclosure #208-0970).
Bauer says the tooling innovation reduces variable costs 50 cents per part and reduces weight by one-tenth of a pound. Craftsmanship is also improved because of the reduction in parting lines, part cut lines and number of overall parts. No post processing parting lien work is required. The aprt is molded in talc-filled polypropylene.
“Innovative tooling will enable more future applications for advanced use of plastics in automotive and other industries,” says Bauer.
Ford describes the 2012 Focus (C346) five door as its first global vehicle and is built in North America, Europe and China. The tool builder for Europe is Dimp Molpo (Diartzun, Spain); for Asia, it’s Hua Yi Sheng (Shenzen, China).
The part is a finalist for SPE Automotive Innovation Awards. Winners will be announced tomorrow in Livonia, MI.