A manufacturer of automotive comfort systems was experiencing an issue with a seal used in one of their convertible roof designs. The main purpose of the seal was to prevent the ingress of water into the cabin of the car. In addition, the seal also needed to meet stringent flammability standards and demonstrate superior acoustic performance by reducing the level of driving noise inside the cabin. The first design for the seal used an EPDM material, a type of synthetic rubber used in roofing membranes, in 3-D form. The process used to manufacture the seal proved to be very difficult as outputting the 3-D form required many steps, making the entire process lengthy and costly. As a result, the seals produced at the end of the manufacturing process were of poor quality due to the shape of the form not being a good fit for the design or the process itself. These two factors resulted in the seal having difficulty meeting bare minimum requirements.
Rogers partnered with the converter manufacturing the die-cut seal to redesign a 2-D die-cut version of the seal using Rogers' PORON® polyurethane foam material. PORON® 4701 was chosen for use as the seal material because it proved to have the necessary compressibility attribute needed to maintain a seal when the roof was in operation, repeatedly opening and closing. In addition to effectively keeping moisture out of the cabin, PORON® polyurethane material met strict flammability requirements, limited cabin noise, and proved to be easier to work with in the die-cutting process, reducing production costs for the converter.
The inclusion of PORON® foam material in the convertible roof system resulted in significant improvements in the overall quality of the design - exceeding the manufacturer's standards by providing more features than the EPDM material, and delivering cost savings to the converter. In addition, end consumers also benefited by reaping the benefit of a safe, quiet, and water-tight convertible experience.