A customer was experiencing breakage in the field on an interior automotive trim component. The leg rest component was constructed of a hard plastic substrate with leather look skin, and polyurethane foam cushion formed in between the two. The substrate had molded tabs located at intervals to accommodate fastener clips used for lock-in retention. The tabs were consistently breaking off in the field, often even before the vehicle left the showroom.
The Midwest Rubber engineering team performed a detailed analysis and investigation of the broken tabs. We soon realized the substrates, made using a polycarbonate blend, were easily weakened after being processed too quickly at too high a temperature. However, the resulting problem was not becoming apparent until a week later, making detection difficult. After we changed the substrate supplier to one who used a different process, no further failures occurred. Our customer appreciated our careful analysis of every step of the production process to identify the problem and successful solution.