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The Brainpower Behind Your New Car

Auburn Hills, MI – We got the chance to stop at the Chrysler headquarters to learn about Sika’s role in the design process of new vehicle models.  We met with Sika’s Rick Puckett to learn about the different stages of designing a new Chrysler vehicle.

In the Product Development Center, new vehicle designs are assessed in all aspects for potential improvements. One such improvement is the reduction of noise throughout the vehicle, which involves identifying problem areas. These areas can include noise caused by air passages or vibrations that may occur during movement. The FCA Engineers work with Sika engineers to design dampening and baffling products to fit specifically in each problem area. These engineers often must get creative with their designs to accommodate different body types; the baffle used for one vehicle model resembled a smiley face to fit a desired location. Using both testing software and physical testing, the products are either approved for production or redesigned. The specifications of the approved products are given to the Sika Automotive Plant in Grandview, Missouri, where they are produced to meet the demand for the model’s release.

Because of Sika’s extensive involvement in the design process, several Sika employees will spend part of their week at the Chrysler headquarters. There is even a permanent Sika desk in the product development center. These Sika employees also work with the test engineers at the Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) Department. Ahmed from NVH showed us a simulation for a new model design. Although the car on his screen looked like a three dimensional model, each line was actually an equation to represent the car’s impact capabilities. As Ahmed explained, vibrations are simply dull displacements and can be correlated to small impacts for simulation purposes. Because of this predictability, NVH can assess vibrational areas within five percent accuracy before any physical testing is conducted. Sika comes into play by providing structural reinforcement products for these areas that should remain stiff during movement.

After seeing the focus and capabilities of the engineers at Chrysler we definitely have a greater appreciation for the design process behind Chrysler automobiles. Next time that you’re in a vehicle produced by the FCA Group, try to pay attention to the sound reduction inside the cabin. There might even be a smiley face baffle keeping the noise levels low.

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