Engineering innovation for the ultimate comfort at 200mph

Problem solving is a real Accuride strength and so when the team was approached by a luxury performance car manufacturer about developing a moving armrest for its new model it knew it had the expertise, innovation and resource to produce the solution. It didn’t happen overnight however. Two years of intensive design and development work followed, with weekly update client calls to share knowledge and learnings.

The big challenge was that the motorised armrest would be a world first. As far as the team was aware a fully motorised armrest had never been incorporated into a car and, although Accuride had cracked many tricky challenges before, this was a new one to them.

New materials were researched, tested and commissioned. The electrical drive gearbox was designed and rigorously tested before final approval. An essential requirement was to ensure the armrest operated as quietly as possible, whilst still complying with all the technical requirements. Strength testing and smooth movement tests were also part of the criteria.

European sales director, Jim Armstrong explains the scale of the challenge: “I think it’s safe to say that it was quite a learning curve for both sides. Our design team, prototype engineers, production engineers, quality department, and of course the sales team all stood up to the mark. I cannot emphasise how difficult it was to achieve a product suitable in quality and function to be used in such a flagship product. What should also be remembered is that all this had to be achieved at the target price. Even prestige car manufacturers have limits to what they can afford to put into their vehicles.”

The very nature of this product means that small tweaks and modifications are an on-going process. However, Accuride has been supplying this product in production volumes since September 2016. Quality targets have been achieved, the car has been successfully launched into the market, and Accuride continues to supply production shipments into the customer.

What really counts however is the ultimate in luxury and driving position that the drivers of these beautiful cars get to enjoy – while staying blissfully unaware of all the engineering excellence, problem solving and inspirational design that made it all possible.

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