Lange lange ist's her, aber es gibt eien Blog von Nick Sutton, wo er einige der Punkte hier nochmal anspricht.
Lesenswert - aber auf neudeutsch: (geklaut bei http://www.dmctalk.com
Exterior Trim on the DMC
Posted 05-23-2009 at 05:01 PM by nick sutton
My earlier notes described the history of the DeLorean interior soft trim – the suppliers involved in the manufacturing process their background and technical issues and any associated major events or stories. As a natural progression through the car describing the history as I recall it unfolding the following is a brief resume of my memories of the procurement of parts on the exterior of the vehicle including the front and rear fascias, rubbing strips, rear louvre, engine cover, various plastic trim and other sundry exterior items.
Lotus Cars, who had the design responsibility of the DMC and as a low volume car manufacturer would on occasions require the support of suppliers who had the technical manufacturing knowledge of parts used on medium to high volume cars knowledge that Lotus in low volume would not possess. Parts that required technical support from the supplier would include items such as the stainless steel sheet metal body panels, reinforced resin injection Mouldings (RRIM), for the front and rear fascias and sheet moulding compound (SMC) this process being used on the rear louvre, engine cover and hood cruciform and injection mouldings. In all other aspects Lotus were self sufficient in design and manufacturing knowledge.
From a manufacturing, quality and tooling capital investment view it was clear from the start that we were competing with the lower volume sports car sector which included such high profile producers as Porsche, Ferrari, Corvette and others so it was natural to look at these car makers and their suppliers to understand the processes, methods and capital investment demanded for their volumes and associated quality levels. For example, Porsche used RRIM on the front and rear end part fascias manufactured by Phoenix GmbH of Hamburg; GM’s Corvette used SMC on some of their body panels rather than hot press, cold press. ERM or VARI processes. We needed to know the best supplier and the most appropriate process.
We knew that the front and rear end RRIM parts would need at least nine months to tool from completion of design, add then a few months for sample approval and design tweaks so twelve months would disappear in no time. It was obvious that these parts together with the body panels would be the constraint in achieving “job1” production for the DMC, which as I recall was then planned for August 1980.We are now at March 1979.
In spring 1979 it was clear that Phoenix Gummiwerke in Hamburg were the leaders in Europe at the time and as a bonus very keen to obtain the business on the DeLorean car. Phoenix’s manufacturing facility was as I recall very close to the border with the GDR (East Germany) and I often wondered at the time (and of course very selfishly) if the Russians invaded West Germany what would that do to our output of vehicles at the Dunmurry plant! This issue was even discussed when we were making the sourcing decision! Phoenix were also given the business on the rubbing strips, rocker panels, front spoiler, rear valance and front grille. For most of these parts there were no problems in timing of availability or quality.
Even before the parts were designed the production business was placed with Phoenix this was essential as DMC and Lotus needed a supplier that knew the process and its design parameters and could assist in the development of the parts.
As we commenced development, placed prototype tools and obtained the first parts is was evident that major changes were required to the front end fascia moulding. The top lip sagged against the profile of the hood line and needed a reinforcement which was eventually designed into the production tools. This was to contain a metal retaining strip with studs (which to my recollection Porsche didn’t use) to fasten and hold the fascia in place against the hood line. (we were not aware of the eye brow problem at that time).
Of course the early prototype parts made by Lotus in GRP didn’t require stiffening as they were made of stiff material so we only got to understand the problem of sag when prototype tools were made and parts delivered for fit and function.
Fitting the rear end moulding in series production was also a major problem the line up with the rear quarter stainless panels was a major constraint Eventually, in Harry Steadman’s rework crib at Dunmurry in early 1981 the rear fascia side retaining brackets were reworked to change what was a location hole into a cross (similar to flat pack furniture brackets where holes become crosses to give more latitude in fitment due to the stack up of tolerances).This process was to be used on may location brackets used in the vehicle particularly on exterior trim items until we got to grips with the situation and location holes in metal pressings became holes again.
As we increased production in May and June 1981 some suppliers were not able to maintain output of products in line with our schedule. This was probably due to our many false starts from the original “job 1” of August 1980 to our ramping up of production in the Spring of 1981.
Paint quality problems on the front and rear end with Phoenix were a major constraint at the time. Due to the amount of rejects caused by this defect most evenings for at least five to six weeks Monday to Friday evenings in July and August 1981 moulded parts would be flown from Hamburg in Germany to Northern Ireland with a dedicated flight hired by Phoenix to supply parts to DMC so as to maintain continuity of production. It was credit to Phoenix that they did this and swallowed the cost of the airfreight. In other ways Phoenix were superb in the Engineering support and attention to detail.
The Rear Louvre was a late addition – I’d guess at late 1979 or early 1980 the part was added to the vehicle profile– probably because Lotus had one on their Esprit and it rounded of the rear end styling quite nicely. Parts of this nature in SMC would take twelve months to tool – this put it well past “job1” date of August 1980.
Ferrozell GmbH – a superb supplier were/are based in Augsburg West Germany – I visited them very often – and although they made the engine cover and the hood inner cruciform most of our discussions during my visits with the engineers related to the rear louvre. Reinforcing the central spine, adding more material to the strut mounting point and generally making the part more structurally sound. Many times we took the tool out of production then made parts in advance to make up for the time the tool was out of commission for modification and then made more parts from the modified tool. In the early days of production at Dunmurry “good” rear louvres would be taken from vehicles and used on vehicles ready to go – so it’s not surprising that various designs of the louvre do not coincide with consecutive VIN’s.
In late 1980 the Managing Director of DMC, Chuck Bennington, decided that a lower windscreen moulding would be required – I can’t recall what was originally specified to be in this space – if anything. This part would be called the Air scuttle grille (part no 105047?) and was needed for “job 1”. Please remember that at this stage we are now three months past that date and a part of this nature would take at least 16/18 weeks to tool. The part was tooled, sampled and grained in twelve weeks from an Italian supplier who charged according to my records 47 million Lira (cost of an ice cream or a Lamborghina your guess is as good as mine given the time lapse).
An incredible achievement as parts were made available for early 1981.