Overview of plastic parts made by Scherer & Trier for the new A-Class
 
Black luster for the new Mercedes star
Using very innovative parts, Scherer & Trier enhances the improved physical appearance of the new Mercedes A-Class and reduces its price. The toughest challenge: A new outer belt line molding. Not merely as a design element, this part is also essential as a functional feature and, for that reason, top quality is called for.

This task was a combination of cost-effective calculation and just plain fun for the Michelau-based plastics manufacturer S&T: To develop outer belt line moldings for the three-door A-Class from scratch. The aim of the development: To accomplish the same visual enhancement of the by-line as the upmarket "lines" for the larger models. "We had a solution that completely fulfilled the expectations of the engineers and designers at Mercedes", according to the Head of Sales at Scherer & Trier, Horst Biesenecker. The outer belt line molding is now fully made of plastic, is lighter and is considerably better-priced.

A fine piece of work
Several components and operational steps are required to manufacture the outer belt line molding. Particularly intricate: For geometric reasons, the curvature in the rear side window (by contrast to the straight section along the window of the driver’s door) rules out an extrusion process. For that reason, a combination of the two approaches was chosen: Injection-molding and extrusion, which necessitated complex coordination and consultation processes, something not noticeable from the outward appearance of the units.
"The replacement of the 2-part aluminium variant with a single plastic part also makes installation easier for our customers - the bracket no longer needs to be plugged on. That also makes the part a trendsetting development", says Project Manager Thomas Ruff, pointing out another merit of the innovation.
  One change leads to another
It never ceases to amaze: The variety of products Scherer & Trier contributes to a new model. For example, the outer belt line molding for the three-door model is accompanied by two further Scherer & Trier innovations: The new triangular panel on the C-pillar has a surprisingly attractive visual depth effect. Its high-gloss appearance is produced by a transparent plastic coating on a black background. The outer scuff plate was also freshly developed with the lettering of the OEM on a injection molded aluminum strip. An eye-catching touch of class that is a winner compared with a 'pristine' high-grade-steel cover thanks to the weight and economic advantages.

Borders successfully transcended
Needless to say, the development work had its ups and downs, as is always the case with "new starts". "It was a tough piece of work - but the teamwork with the DaimlerChrysler crew, and with Björn Storz, Alexander Hübner and Sandra Zanello, in charge of development went very well at every phase - and when all team members pull together, the project runs smoothly and it is easier to cope with the stress", concludes Ruff. Biesenecker adding: "We were tested to our limits, but surpassed them every time - as can be seen from the outcome." However, it does not end there. The Scherer & Trier team is (pretty) certain that the project still has lots of potential for the future. The innovative gem will also look good on the A- Class’s big brother - Scherer & Trier's SOP for the new B-Class parts is next spring.
 




published
2004/12/13



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