Innovation at EPC with Automotive Hood Levelers

May 21, 2013 10:18 AM
EPC_Hood_Levelers
EPC Hood Levelers
© EPC

The following article appeared in the April issue of the MacLean-Fogg Company Employee newsletter.

When one of our key customers recently requested involvement for an under-hood beautification initiative, Engineered Plastics Company (EPC) was asked to respond with costs and timing for re-designing and re-tooling our current rubber hood levelers. These parts would be integral to the significant 2013 launch of this customer’s 2014 full size pickup trucks.

EPC had been the object of multiple price increases from our rubber bumper supplier with little to no recourse for customer reimbursement. While forced to request from our customer piece price increases and significant tooling investments for the new design, they were placed in a difficult position.

Facing the challenge, ‘innovation’ kicked in at EPC and we were able to rapid prototype and recommend an alternative thermoplastic elastomer replacement for the rubber bumper component. Ultimately as had been predicted, this new product development proved to both perform better and cost less. In fact, EPC was now in a position to offer our customer a piece price reduction, while maintaining an acceptable profit margin, all while providing the new enhanced rounded design theme desired the customer’s styling team.

Because of our rapid prototyping capabilities and a culture for innovation, EPC was able to quickly demonstrate our product solution with real production viable and testable thermoplastic components.

Because of the tremendous success and value of this product innovation, our customer has recommended EPC to their Pedestrian Protection Hood Leveler Engineering as a preferred supplier to help develop solutions for impending government legislation requiring hoods to provide a softer landing for pedestrians impacted at low speeds. We are now leading the work on the next generation of ‘safer’ Hood Bumper technologies and offering potential life-saving product features to our most valued customers.

 

 

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