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2005 BUICK LaCROSSE: INTERIOR DESIGN SIDEBAR

At a time when almost all automotive components are first created in cyberspace, interior designers and engineers for the 2005 Buick LaCrosse took another approach - and in doing so reintroduced a process that has once again become an important step in the development of all new General Motors vehicles.

The 2005 LaCrosse is the first GM vehicle in more than a decade to have its interior designed and developed using what the company calls an Interior Craftsmanship Buck, or ICB. Widely used before GM and most of the industry adopted digital mockup assembly, the ICB provides one major advantage over even the most sophisticated computer-generated images: it enables designers and engineers to physically sit in a vehicle interior, long before even prototype parts are made.


Each ICB is designed to create a realistic interior environment by including the roof and pillars, doors, and even the front and rear glass. Seats, carpets and headliner materials also are added to make the interior model as accurate as possible.

Key to this early evaluation process is a synthetic material called renwood, which is easily and quickly milled from block forms into digitally accurate, full-size models of major interior components such as the instrument panel, console and door panels.

Because these forms can be produced with perfect dimensional accuracy, designers and engineers can fully evaluate designs for their overall aesthetics, as well as scrutinize each part for its individual form and fit.

"Renwood is an easily cut material with no grain that lets us evaluate not only the overall design and ergonomics of an interior, but how every part is used, right down to the smallest detail," said Dennis W. Burke, chief designer for LaCrosse.

"It really helps us focus on achieving a crafted, precision appearance at the earliest stages of development and design, and examine actual part interfaces that may not be as evident when using a computer rendering."

Using renwood and the ICB process during the earliest stages of design - about 24 months before vehicle production - helped designers and engineers achieve a crafted yet high quality feel throughout the interior of the LaCrosse.

Interior components were refined for flush fits and extremely minimal gap tolerances, resulting in a high level of attention to detail.

For example, the center section of LaCrosse's instrument panel, which contains the stereo, driver information center controls and ventilation controls, has gap tolerances of less than 1 mm, while gaps between the instrument panel and door panels are less than 5 mm, both on par with the best in the industry.

Minimal tolerances were also achieved throughout the door-mounted controls and hardware, while sprayed urethane instead of wrapped vinyl was used to create a more unified and higher quality appearance because of crisper textures and tighter fits. The ICB process also enabled designers and engineers to move some primary parts interfaces out of view.

While the ICB process may require more investment up front, the process has already demonstrated the potential to generate considerable savings further into the program.

"We made several changes during the ICB process because it enabled us to see things that might not have been as evident before," said Burke, noting that just one tooling change for a component can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. "So it makes sense for us to work closely with suppliers to verify as much as we can, and as early as we can. This process is enabling us to do exactly that."
 

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<_< I wonder if this is really a good thing or if this is just GM Corporate Spin.
I guess computers just can't simulate the real thing. Makes you wonder how Lexus does it.
:lol:


Wonder if the STS went through this process too.
 

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Originally posted by mgescuro@Feb 5 2004, 10:31 AM
<_< I wonder if this is really a good thing or if this is just GM Corporate Spin.
I guess computers just can't simulate the real thing. Makes you wonder how Lexus does it.
:lol:


Wonder if the STS went through this process too.
I think this is spin :rolleyes:
 
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