Rosas Vazquez, A., Paisano, F., and Santillan Gutierrez, D., "Use of Plastic Trim Fasteners for Automotive Trimming Applications," SAE Technical Paper 2017-01-1304, 2017, doi:10.4271/2017-01-1304.
For many years, the use of in-mold fasteners has been avoided for various reasons including: not fully understanding the load cases in the part, the fear of quality issues occurring, the need for servicing, or the lack of understanding the complexity of all failure modes. The most common solution has been the use of secondary operations to provide attachments, such as, screws, metal clips, heat staking, sonic welding or other methods which are ultimately a waste in the process and an increase in manufacturing costs. The purpose of this paper is to take the reader through the design process followed to design an in-molded attachment clip on plastic parts. The paper explores the design process for in-molded attachment clips beginning with a design concept idea, followed by basic concept testing using a desktop 3D printer, optimizing the design with physical tests and CAE analysis, and finally producing high resolution 3D prototypes for validation and tuning. The ultimate goals of this paper are to convey design lessons learned, be a guide for in-molded attachment clip design and to provide a better understanding of the issues to be faced when taking on this challenge. We hope this encourages other engineers to design more efficient and robust parts by using the computational, prototyping and informational resources available to the automotive engineer in today’s innovative environment.