Making the Steering Wheel Work

TRW Automotive’s clock spring design.

Most days drivers don’t give much thought to what happens when you press a steering wheel button. But it has been at the forefront of Rick Bowes’ mind for quite a while. Bowes is a designer in the body control systems group at Michigan-based TRW Automotive. The global company focuses on active and passive safety systems and has worked with Proto Labs for the past five years.  During that time we’ve made a number of clock spring prototype parts about the size of a hockey puck. Whether you’re using your wheel to trip turn signals, clear rain off your window, turn on cruise control, increase the heat or switch stations to avoid listening to commercials, this part is what makes it all work. We’ve made housings, rotors, and covers for these parts and worked with Bowes when he needed a prototype that combined TRW’s existing clock spring technology with new design features.

We’ve helped TRW make hundreds of prototypes of the bulk of the structure of the clock spring assembly. Our fast pace allowed TRW to engage in evaluation and testing before moving forward to larger-scale steel tooling.

TRW uses our injection molding service and is now working on the next-generation clock spring which may be ready by year’s end. To read more about prototyping with plastic injection molding, read our case study on TRW Automotive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>