Detroit — Designers for the 2021 Ford F-150 have put new capabilities in etching and tooling inserts to help the truck stand out while providing molded trim that can "span a variety of customers, expectations and price points."
Dustin Shedlarski, interior design manager of the F-150, told Plastics News that new geometric textures were laser etched into tooling, creating "quite a spread of different finishes throughout" the interior of the truck.
"We wanted to make sure we added personality to the interior, even on the hard plastic parts … to give it a premium feel … and to differentiate the versions of the truck." Shedlarski said.
The laser etching is used on parts for even the lowest trim levels, he said. "It takes what would normally be kind of a low-end part and really adds a lot of interest and character to it."
The 150 is Ford's biggest selling and most important vehicle, so it is important to get the details right.
To help manage the cost of tooling for so many trim levels, the geometric etching patterns exist on removable inserts that attach to the cavity of the molds, he said.
"It helped us manage multiple parts and aesthetics to the surface without us having to have unique tools for every single part," Shedlarski said.
"We definitely had to really prioritize the capacity and throughput of tools to get them done on time and support the program," said Alan Moran, North America instrument panel and console engineering manager at Ford. "Just because we're not accustomed to this process with the large-scale tools."