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New Automotive Film Solutions service helps resolve potential warranty issues before vehicles leave the production line

 3M Engineered Films

3M Automotive has introduced a new Film Solutions Service which could potentially save vehicle manufacturers millions in warranty costs and customer complaints. The new service uses adhesive films to provide rapid, simple fixes to issues arising after the start of production (SOP) that could lead to expensive warranty claims and damage to brand reputation.

“With an increasing number of model derivatives having subtly different specifications, and the general complexity of modern vehicles, it is not always possible for vehicle manufacturers to asses every potential engineering issue until the vehicle reaches the production phase." said Matt Hillcock 3M Automotive senior sales specialist – engineering films and lighting. “With our customers already running on tight budgets and timescales, we can now use our 3M film products to offer effective solutions quickly.”

Typically, unexpected issues arise at the start of new model production, for example the visibility of body paint through gaps and vents or adjacent components rubbing together to cause abrasion to a surface. OEMs often need a rapid interim solution while tooling is modified and new parts are designed, or a permanent solution that can be quickly implemented.

The new 3M Automotive Film Solutions Service combines the company’s adhesive engineered films, industry expertise and a new way of delivering the solution quickly. The films provide an elegant solution without increasing development time and cost or causing production delays.

The service is built around two main product technologies; Black-out film and Paint Protection film. Black-out film is generally used to hide body colour around the vehicle, particularly around door frames and through panel gaps and grills. It can also be used around window frames to give the effect of continuous glazing. The film is produced in a variety of different textures and finishes to suit OEM design requirements or match existing part finish.

The Paint Protection films are used on critical areas of the vehicle that are susceptible to damage through stone chipping and abrasion which could lead to corrosion issues. They can also be used to separate adjacent components which could rub together and create damage to the surface or cause issues with squeak and rattle, one of the most frequent customer warranty issues.

“A customer approached the team just after SOP about two significant components rubbing together in the rear load area leading to the surface finish of one component being abraded and the substrate colour being clearly visible to the customer,” said Hillcock. “We were able to design and supply a bespoke solution within four weeks of the initial enquiry. The textured film used to prevent the interference between the parts perfectly matched the rest of the interior, making it look like it was originally designed to be there. The vehicle manufacturer has since decided to use our product as a standard fit item.”

3M Automotive has invested significant resources in developing a process that saves engineers time making their enquiry. A new website (www.3m.co.uk/AFSUK) has been launched that contains a simplified product selector to show which technologies could be appropriate for a given issue. The customer can use the online tool to submit details of their application, which can be immediately handled by an experienced engineer. The company has also rationalized its supply chain and integrated systems which highlight product availability in order to more accurately predict and reduce lead times.

“When vehicle manufacturers face start of production issues, time is very much of the essence,” says Hillcock. “Along with the simplified product selector we have a team of dedicated engineers who work closely with the vehicle manufacturers to ensure a solution is delivered quickly.”

Visit www.3m.co.uk/AFSUK for further details, or to explore the recently refreshed 3M website.

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