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The most prestigious prize of the 35th-anniversary SPE16 Innovation Awards Gala – the Grand Award – was given to the team that developed the composite In-Bed Trunk17 featured on the ’05 MY Honda18 Ridgeline pickup truck.
The integrated storage system moulded from sheet-moulding compound (SMC) composite provides 8.5 cubic feet of easily accessible, lockable, weather-tight stowage. It can hold toolboxes, luggage, or up to 3 sets of golf clubs, and doubles as an in-bed ice chest (with integral drainage plug). With an 1,100-pound carrying capacity and integral tie downs, the rugged trunk offers better durability and slip resistance than conventional systems and is rustproof.
Additionally, the trunk offers a weight savings of 30% vs. steel, and its 7-piece construction replaced over 100 steel parts while greatly enhancing manufacturability, assembly, and durability. In fact, this application achieves levels of component integration that would not be feasible in sheet metal for reasons of cost, mass, and manufacturability.
Meridian Automotive Systems was the systems supplier for this application; tooling was supplied by Century and Global Tooling Systems; and the materials suppliers included Ashland Chemical, Saint-Gobain, and Rohm & Haas. In addition to the Grand Award, the application also won the top award in the Body Exterior category.
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