SOFT-BLOW MALLET – Energy Absorbing Material Case Study

Client Partner: General Motors – Ypsilanti, Michigan, Assembly Plant

Sorbothane SOFT-BLOW MALLET is safe for auto body work.When Ypsilanti, Michigan, assembly line workers were using traditional rubber mallets during production, they would dent the body panels of new cars when attaching side-molding and trim assemblies. This created very expensive secondary paint and body damage.

The Challenge: Finding a Surface Conforming Material

In an unsuccessful attempt to correct the problem, workers would cut down the rounded sides of traditional rubber mallets seeking to create a flat surface for the installation of moldings, trim and chrome. However, the modified rubber mallets proved to still be too stiff and unforgiving, and the edited, flat side was unsuccessful because it wasn’t making clean and consistent contact with the accessories being applied.

Sorbothane’s Impact Absorbing Solution: Creating a Viscoelastic Material

Sorbothane partnered with the United Auto Workers in Ypsilanti to design and produce a long-lasting Sorbothane® SOFT-BLOW MALLET that would make clean contact with the accessories being installed without marring or denting the freshly painted body panels. This saved on plant time and repair costs.

Real World Testing: Sorbothane SOFT-BLOW MALLETS

Sorbothane, Inc. worked hand-in-hand with the assembly line workers to prototype and refine an impact-resistant material that would be easy to handle, proficient in molding application and safe on all surfaces.

Sorbothane’s Custom Auto Body Solution

While working with the assembly line team, Sorbothane, Inc. learned about the workers’ attempt to reshape their old mallets into a flatter shape. With this knowledge, Sorbothane’s refined design features included slightly convex surfaces on the mallet head. This design improvement proved to make the mallet safe to use on all surfaces, including painted surfaces, glass and chrome. As an added benefit, the viscoelastic properties of Sorbothane also helped to reduce hand jarring while working on the auto parts.

The final Sorbothane SOFT-BLOW MALLET was very well received by the line workers. In fact, the mallet reduced secondary damage to the vehicles so well that it paid for itself in just one 8-hour shift.

Continued Product Refinement and Extension

Our mallets are safe for all surfaces and provide maximum surface contact without denting or marring. This has expanded the usage of the SOFT-BLOW MALLET to: Fine Wood Working, Glass Installation, Cabinetry and Home Remodeling.

In addition, Sorbothane offers three sizes (or head weights) that deliver the needed force without causing surface damage: 5.5 oz. head weight / 12 oz. head weight / 20 oz. head weight.

Additional Benefits of the Sorbothane SOFT-BLOW MALLET

Sorbothane SOFT-BLOW MALLET is produced in three sizes.
    • Low Rebound – Saves Energy
    • Works on Molded Surfaces
    • Reduces Secondary Repair
    • Uses All Sides of Mallet Head
    • Forms to Edges & Corners
    • Off Center Blows Won’t Harm Surface

If you are looking for the most impact resistant material for your custom engineering solution, Sorbothane has what you need. Contact us to speak to a member of our design team to discuss your application needs, or view our Standard Products Guide to get more information about our products.