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Material, Tooling Key to New Pillar Appliqué with Hidden Keyless Entry Keypad

SpecialChem / Feb 11, 2009

To create the signature "floating roof design" on its new 2009 model-year (MY) cross-over utility vehicle (CUV), the Flex, Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.A.) went with darkened windows and 10 high-gloss, blackout pillar appliqués so the vehicle's white roof literally "popped" from the dark beltline-to-roof space and the painted body panels below. With such a sleek look, the question became how and where to place the vehicle's driver-side keyless entry system, which allows passengers to gain entry into a locked vehicle without a key by punching in a numeric code. But engineering faced many challenges making this work. For example, there was limited packaging space, and a sealed environment was needed to ensure the electronics functioned properly long term. To maintain the desired look, the gloss, color, and opacity had to match other pillar appliqués on the vehicle, and the keypad needed to blend "invisibly" into the appliqué until the consumer wanted to operate it but then needed to have sufficient light visibility and optical properties to be workable.

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