Focus Grab Handle Made With Unique Four-Piece Cavity Slider

A unique tooling innovation reduces part complexity and cost of a liftgate grab handle in the 2012 Ford Focus.

Unique tool provides cost and weight savings on molded-in grab handle for 2012 Ford Focus liftgate. Photo: SPE Automotive Division

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 molders are NYX (Fort Wayne, IN), Grupo Antolin (Burgos, Spain), and Pingwei of China.

The part is a finalist for SPE Automotive Innovation Awards. Winners will be announced tomorrow in Livonia, MI.

The 2012 Focus is Ford's first global vehicle, with manufacturing in North America, Europe and China. Photo: Ford

About Doug Smock

Former Chief Editor at Plastics World and Senior Technical Editor Design News
Asia, Automotive, Design, Europe, Injection Molding, Injection Molding, North America, polypropylene , , , , ,

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