Heat Stake Redesign and Process Optimization
Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI) (formerly Johnson Controls) is the global leader in automotive interiors. YFAI is redefining how people relax, work and play in their vehicle interiors today and decades from now. Headquartered in Shanghai, the company has more than 113 manufacturing and technical centers in 18 countries and employs over 33,000 people globally. This project is based out of the engineering division in Holland, MI.
Heat staking is used widely in automotive interiors for its ability to join dissimilar plastics and to join plastics to other materials. The staking process is capable of forming many attachments simultaneously without additional fasteners, reducing handling and assembly time.
The student team will optimize the process conditions and develop improvements to staking process equipment to maintain connection strength, minimize cycle time and reduce variation in finished part quality for the current pin design. They will also develop improved methods of clamping, heating and staking that reduce variation and cycle time, and require less space between fastener locations.
Students who successfully match to this project team will be required to sign the following two documents in January 2018:
- Skill level All levels
- Students 5-8 Students
- Likely Majors Any, ChE, ISD-MFG, MSE, ME, STATS
- Course Substitutions Honors, ISD-MFG, ME 490, ME 590, ChE Elec
- IP & NDA Required? Yes
- Summer Opportunity Interview Guaranteed
Mechanical Design and Development (2-3 Students)
Structural part design, analytical structure modeling, and experimental validation.
- Likely Majors: Mechanical Engineering
Materials Development (2-3 Students)
Materials testing, heat transfer modeling, plastics behavior, and injection molding.
- Likely Majors: MSE, ChE, ME
Statistics and Experimental Design (1-2 students)
Design of experiments and analysis of experimental results.
- Likely Majors: STATS, or any major with advanced experimental design coursework
Sponsor Mentor: Dennis VanHouten
Dennis VanHouten is a product engineer at the Yanfeng Technical
Campus in Holland, Michigan. Dennis graduated from the University of
Michigan (BSME ’93) and Grand Valley State University (MBA ’99).
Dennis has over 20 years of experience in automotive interiors, including
roles in research and development, testing, product design, and Six
Sigma. He currently mentors product development and launch teams in
the use of Taguchi methods for Robust Engineering.
Faculty Mentor: Johannes Schwank
Professor of Chemical Engineering
Johannes Schwank is the James and Judith Street Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Principal Investigator on the REFRESCH project. His research focuses on a wide range of energy topics, including synthetic fuel production via advanced Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and aromatization of olefins; autothermal reforming of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel for fuel cell-based auxiliary power units; development of coke- and sulfur-resistant solid oxide fuel cell anode catalysts; NOx trap, selective catalytic reduction, and three-way catalysts for automotive emission control; photocatalytic water splitting and CO2 reduction; catalytically enhanced conversion of biomass in ionic liquids; development and characterization of nanostructured materials for gas sensing and energy storage applications.