Seven different engineering plastics from five producers are used in a complex camera deployment mechanism hidden behind the badge emblem in the 2016 Lincoln MKX. Ford has filed four patent applications for the technology which reduces weight significantly compared to zinc camera housings used by VW and BMW and cuts costs $3.15 per part.
The amount of injection molding supply chain collaboration involved is impressive.
The materials suppliers are Lanxess, DuPont, BASF, Ticona, and Celanese. Three toolmakers are involved: Lauderbach Formtechnik, PTI Engineering Plastics, Macomb, Michigan; and overmolding expert Chemtech Plastics of Elgin, Illinois. The system supplier is Huf North America Automotive Parts Manufacturing Corp. in Greenville, Tennessee. The recently expanded plant, which focuses on production of painted door handles, offers plastic injection molding, a pressure foundry, electronics production, and assembly.
While rear cameras are becoming commonplace, the front camera helps drivers see curbs while parking. It’s an add-on for the premium car market.
“With the signature split-wing Lincoln grille, it was difficult to package a front camera on the face of 2016 Lincoln MKX without blemishing (it),” says Ford engineer David Jarvis. As a result, Ford developed a camera that deploys only when needed. The lightest possible solution was required to avoid fascia deformation and excessive vibration under road loads. The plastics mechanism weighs 50 percent less than metal versions.
- The gear/PCB cover is made from DuPont 15 percent glass-filled PBT-type polyester.
- The gears are made from DuPont poylacetal and BASF polyamide 66.
- Overmolded drive links are made from 30 percent glass-filled polyamide 66 from Lanxess.
- Levers are made from 30 percent glass filled polyamide 66 from Lanxess.
- The camera bracket is made from 15 percent glass-filled polyacetal from Celanese.