Interesting Article About Modular Door Design in New Wrangler

Date 2006/6/13 19:43:00 | Topic: Wrangler

CompositesWorld.com is running an interesting article about the modular door design of the 2007 Wrangler.
The doors are proof of this point - the Wrangler will be available with either full-height or half-height doors, and a new four-door version is in the works, a first for this model. And with each door, prospective owners have the additional options of either power or manual windows and locks. For DaimlerChrysler, this range of options was a significant driver in rethinking door design and assembly, emphasizes Jeff Tibbenham, supervisor of DaimlerChrysler's window regulator and door module center of competence. "We had to find a way to take some labor out of assembly and find a way to build more vehicles in the same assembly plant, with the same capital assets," Tibbenham explains. Similar "rethinking" processes, years ago, led automotive OEMs to outsource integrated instrument panel modules and, more recently, integrated front-end components from outside suppliers. For the new Wrangler, DaimlerChrysler applied a similar solution, turning to key window regulator supplier Hi-Lex Controls Inc. (Troy, Mich.) to develop a modular door solution. The result is a single assembly that integrates the window mechanism (manual or power), lock and handle hardware, door latch and all cables and wiring, permitting rapid installation and pre-validated performance. Supporting all these components is a structural module plate, produced via injection-compression molding from a high-strength, long glass fiber-reinforced polypropylene (PP) compound supplied by Ticona Engineering Polymers (Florence, Ky.). The long fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (LFRT) permits extremely complex shapes and integral ribs and bosses not possible in steel stamping. The module is of the "sealed" type, in that it also provides a watertight interface within the door assembly, without additional plastic sheeting.



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