LIVONIA, Mich., Nov. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica redefines the minivan segment. Re-engineered from the ground up, the Pacifica is built on a new platform that delivers class-leading ride, versatility and technology. An essential component of this next-generation vehicle is the front-end load beam assembly designed and manufactured by Vari-Form.
"Very tight packaging was one of the challenges we faced on this technically-advanced van," said Dean Gericke, Vari-Form director of engineering. "We used state-of-the-art hydroforming techniques, within the parameters of the FCA US LLC design, to develop the structural system connecting the door frame ring with the front rail. Our concept improves upon a part originally designed with stampings that occupied too much space. We substituted hydroform tubes into this space, delivering the section size needed." Mr. Gericke went on to note that the use of advanced high strength steel, hydroformed into dual thin wall tubes, contributes to meeting packaging constraints. "To produce a tube this thin required the tube manufacturer to upgrade its production. Then we used Cold Metal Transfer welding to minimize potential distortion from heat." Improving occupant protection is another advantage of the Vari-Form load beam structure. By creating an additional load path for impact forces, the Vari-Form design helps meet IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) targets for narrow offset front protection.