MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions (MFCS) – Engineered Plastics Company (EPC) began working a year ago with a major North American-based automotive company in brainstorming their next generation Spare Tire Tie Down (STTD). Only this time, the same standard design components would have to be utilized independently to also retain a car jack and sometimes a tire inflator kit. The challenge was how to use common elements to minimize future tooling investments and part number complexities arriving at all of the customer’s locations around the world.

Through close collaboration with customer engineers and many alternative design iterations, EPC engineers developed a simplified four piece combination STTD system that accomplished all of the customer’s future flexible design requirements for retaining spare tires, jacks, and inflator kits (below).

All four newly designed components are manufactured at EPC on special vertical injection molding presses that best allow for the loading of and gravity held steel inserts. Materials selected to meet the diverse and demanding individual part performances vary and were carefully matched to achieve a perfect balance of performance and cost.

EPC launched these new components for the mid-sized sedan mid-2014 and will be shipping to various countries. This is truly a global solution that will save EPC customers millions of dollars and has positioned EPC for many years of future spare tire tie downs.

This is also a great example of how working together early on advanced future customer needs to produce mutually positive results that are long lasting and strategically positioned.