Lu, L., West, S., Raines, S., Zhou, J. et al., "Utilization of CAE Tools to Assist Active Glove Box Design," SAE Technical Paper 2017-01-0493, 2017, doi:10.4271/2017-01-0493.
Traditionally, Knee Air Bag (KAB) is constructed of a woven nylon or polyester fabric. Recently, Ford developed an injection molded air bag system for the passenger side called Active Glove Box (AGB). This system integrates a plastic bladder welded between the glove box outer and inner doors. This new system is smaller and lighter, thus improving the roominess and other creature comforts inside the passenger cabin while providing equivalent restraint performance as traditional knee airbag system. This patented technology allows positioning of airbags in new locations within the vehicle, thus giving more freedom to designers. The first application of this technology was standard equipment on the 2015 Ford Mustang. Given that this technology is first in the industry, it was a challenge to design, test and evaluate the performance of the system as there is no benchmark to compare this technology. A CAE driven design methodology was chosen to overcome this challenge. This method gave engineers the ability to use an iterative approach to the design and the ability to analytically evaluate the performance of the system. Once a final design was validated through CAE, parts were manufactured and put through physical testing to qualify the design. Quantitative performance of the AGB was then correlated back to CAE results. The CAE prediction shows good correlation to the physical tests. Final design tweaking was performed on the Active Glove Box system to meet the crash safety and other performance requirements.