Dear Camargue Owners
The relaxation of the lockdown has enabled me to make a visit to view progress on the manufacture of the Camargue bumper mouldings, amongst several other projects. This gave me the opportunity to take some more photographs and give you an insight, not only into the progress made, but also some of the development issues that arise along the way – and how they will be addressed.
First of all, on the left is a picture of one of the bumper moulds with the lid off!
The pictures below demonstrates one of the major problems we expect to fix. Apart from external damage caused by scratches and scrapes (or worse), one of the big problems is water ingress which causes the reinforcement plates to degrade:
Resolving this is relatively easy by ensuring all the metal fixings (both those visible and contained in the rubber) are manufactured from stainless steel (see below).
This fixture on the left is manufactured from stainless steel. These are used in various points in the centre and quarter bumpers.
The manufacturer has now produced the first moulded prototypes for the rear bumper, which also includes the centre moulding for the front bumper (front and rear centre mouldings are common. The priority here is not to obtain parts with a perfect external finish, but to find and then fix any fitment issues).
There are several issues that we expect to encounter with this type of product:
The moulding can shrink or expand slightly, requiring adjustments to the cure time. The tool may need adjustment to cure dimensional or profile issues. Reinforcement design may need to be altered. In fact, it is normal for all these factors to need some adjustment.
In the case of the rear bumper, the prototypes are reasonably close for a first off.
The basic profile of the quarter bumper is excellent, as is that of the centre bumper. Here we are looking for a good match between the lines of the quarter and centre bumpers, so one does not sit “proud” of the other once fitted. However, there is currently a small gap between the centre bumper and rear quarter bumper that needs to be eliminated (see image).
Changes are also required to the internal reinforcement of the rear quarter bumper. Currently there are four independent reinforcement pieces in the quarter bumper, but this allows the bumper to flex outward slightly, leaving a gap between it and the bumper bar (see next page).
To the left you can see that the prototype is not fitting neatly to the bar, and there is a gap.
Three changes are being implemented to cure this. Firstly, two reinforcement points will be joined by a steel plate, which is ensure the bumper cannot bow outward. Secondly, the internal profile will be adjusted so that the rubber will be held more tightly to the bar. Thirdly, the depth that the reinforcement plates are submerged in the rubber will be altered slightly so that the natural position of the moulding against the bar will promote a tight fit, without requiring overtightening.
Work on the rear bumper will be completed before commencing the front quarter bumpers. The factory is closed for the next week for the summer break, but the project thus far is entirely on schedule.
We shall update you all again during August. I hope you enjoyed seeing a little of how these things get done!
Wishing you all the very best,
The IntroCar Team