PLASTIC INSTRUMENT PANEL WITH LIVING HINGE
Publication Date: 2003-Feb-27
The IP.com Prior Art Database
An instrument panel formed from a single polymer member is disclosed. The integral plastic instrument panel is made from AZDEL™ plastic and has a living hinge to provide a seamless appearance and improved acoustical performance.
PLASTIC INSTRUMENT PANEL WITH LIVING HINGE Abstract
An instrument panel formed from a single polymer member is disclosed. The integral plastic instrument panel is made from AZDELTM plastic and has a living hinge to provide a seamless appearance and improved acoustical performance.
It is generally known to manufacture instrument panels from a variety of polymer or plastic materials selected for strength and noise absorption capabilities. Such known instrument panels are typically multiple elements that are separately molded and then coupled together.
However, such known instruments panels have several disadvantages including increased costs for manufacturing and assembling the separate elements, design and manufacturing challenges relating to the fit and finish of the separate elements, and the like.
A primary feature of the present invention is to provide an inexpensive, easy-to- manufacture and aesthetically-pleasing polymer instrument panel that overcomes the above- noted disadvantages.
Another feature of the present invention is to provide an integral instrument panel made from AZDELTM plastic.
Another feature of the present invention is to provide an integrally molded instrument panel with a living hinge so that it can be folded to provide an instrument panel top cover, a "hush" panel, a dash met, a kick panel and/or a cockpit floor.
Another feature of the present invention is to provide an instrument panel with improved acoustic performance, a "seamless" appearance, which also eliminates or consolidates existing components.
As shown in the first sheet of drawing below, an instrument panel is formed from a single panel of a thermoplastic polymer. According to a preferred embodiment, the plastic is a fiber reinforced thermoplastic. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, the plastic is AZDELTM, which is commercially available from Azdel, Inc.
An instrument panel that is made from AZDELTM plastic (or comparable plastic) components are intended to provide improved acoustic properties than known instrument panels that are comprised of mainly plastics. AZDELTM plastic can be formed into various thicknesses or loft. Certain portions of the instrument panel can be thinner, more dense, and stiffer while still possessing some beneficial noise absorption, wh...