Front Seat Toe Kick
A leading automotive parts dealer contracted Northern Plastics Inc. to manufacture custom leather wrapped toe kick panels for a line of automotive sedans.
The client reached out to us due to our extensive experience in manufacturing thermoforming parts for the automotive industry. Having built thousands of customized interior and exterior automotive components over the years, our experienced team was deeply familiar with the requirements and best practices needed to thermoform the toe kick panel for this customer.
The toe kick panel is a plastic trim located on the vehicle’s interior. It sits at the rear of the front driver and passengers seat. Its primary purpose is to protect the seats from the rear passenger kicking the front seat.
Because of its location, this component needed to be durable enough to withstand impacts from frequent kicking by the vehicle’s occupants. In addition, the part had to be manufactured to tight tolerances to ensure that the panel would remain in place and not shake loose from the constant impact loading.
We used ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) to produce the toe kick panel to obtain the required strength and durability needed for this component. ABS is also well known for its relatively low cost and superior impact and shock resistance.
The ABS was thermoformed using our 3-station rotary thermoformer together with a 6-cavity aluminum water cooled tool. To match the vehicle’s interior components, the client opted for a light haircell finish on the surface of the panel. Once the thermoforming process was completed, the segment was trimmed within GM specified tolerances using a 5-axis dual-table CNC router.
Using this fully automated state-of-the-art manufacturing process, we were able to consistently achieve high production volumes to meet the demands of the client. For this project, the initial production run consisted of 15,000 units per year.
In accordance with our ISO 9001 accredited procedures, each unit was visually inspected for flaws and dimensional correctness. Furthermore, in keeping with our strict quality standards, all materials used during the thermoforming process were verified with Level 3 PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) procedures and were IMDS (International Material Data System) compliant as per the customer’s standards.
Overall, the project was a resounding success and it showcased Northern Plastics Inc.’s ability to produce high volumes of thermoformed parts with consistent quality.
Are you in need of a custom thermoformed component for your application? Let us help with your next thermoforming project! Please feel free to contact us.