Our mobility is evolving. The car of the future is all about e-mobility, driving autonomously, and offering a great deal of comfort. Pioneering concepts that combine exceptional design with functionality and ease of use are more in demand than ever before. The car will change much faster in the next ten years than it has over the past 30 years. We are seeing a trend towards large, seamless components that have more and more functions, but also more and more light. Electric mobility creates more space for design, and the interior is increasingly becoming a living space.
Interior: elegant and custom feel-good atmosphere
In the vehicle of tomorrow, the interior plays an important role: It should be attractively designed—and, above all, impress with a high degree of individualization. IMD UNIFY can be used to customize series-produced parts even for single pieces—the best prerequisite for responding more quickly to trends and special requests. At the same time, this production process opens up an unbelievable freedom of design and individualization. Decorating strongly shaped components is just as possible as producing fascinating haptic designs or elegant Shy-Tech designs with backlighting and light installations. The absolute highlight of the process: motifs can also be changed easily during production. IMD UNIFY thus becomes an innovative solution for series-produced unique products with hassle-free overprinting capability. In-mold decoration (IMD) thus stands for component production, component design, and automotive-compliant top lacquer in one process.
However, the pioneering subsequent finishing option IMD UNIFY is not only characterized by custom series production but also proves that new methods and sustainability go hand in hand. The in-mold process combines two production steps in just one efficient and sustainable process, which conserves resources and saves CO2 and material. After the component has been produced, it is then customized via digital printing in a second step. The optimum adhesion and durability of the overprinting make an important contribution to the longevity of the products. This premium decoration does not affect the recyclability of the components and can be re-introduced into the recycling cycle in the interest of sustainability. The IMD process itself can also be used with recycled materials, opening up new perspectives for the all-round sustainable series production of high-quality unique pieces.
Smart Surface HMIs: quality design improves user experience
Whether interior or exterior: high-quality interior design and functionality which increasingly does without any mechanical switches or buttons go hand in hand with elegant lighting elements. Shy-Tech designs set special visual and functional accents here. Behind seamlessly sealed surfaces are technical features that are only activated when touched, boasting a fascinating and innovative combination functionality and design.
Pioneering complete solutions are conquering the HMI sector as well, such as an elegant, seamlessly sealed overhead light console (OHLC), which KURZ has developed in cooperation with its subsidiary PolyIC and its partner companies OSRAM, SYNTEC PLASTICS, and WITTMANN BATTENFELD. In addition to an in-mold electronics solution in a high-quality Shy-Tech design, the roof-lining module also offers modern ambient lighting with integrated logo projection with gobo projector and touch operation. Highly transparent and therefore invisible PolyTC® sensors ensure extensive functionality, while the organic three-dimensional deformation of the component surface underlines the intuitive operation of the touch sliders and buttons. The Overhead Light Console opens up an unprecedented level of design freedom in the vehicle interior: from backlighting and depth effects to different color variants, all conceivable variants can be realized. The design of the surface can also be adapted according to customer requirements. Black high-gloss look, super matt, or soft-touch surfaces are just as feasible as graphic or natural decors such as wood look.
Individuality, brilliant design, and intelligent solutions for autonomous driving
Another highlight: Together with partner company Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, KURZ developed a logo-style design badge for the exterior of vehicles to be produced in the highly efficient “IMD second surface” process. Brilliant colors, backlighting effects, surface structure design: there are no limits to the designers’ imagination of and customer wishes. And the same goes for functionality! Indium metallization has the appearance of hard chrome and is permeable to radar and 5G signals. When applied on the exterior, this is particularly important for automotive manufacturers when it comes to the currently popular concept of autonomous driving. Thanks to the wafer-thin material application, indium is also significantly more sustainable than other environmentally harmful metallization processes such as electroplating.
The external appearance is transforming as well. Instead of the original function of a component, design options are now in focus. Modern components with their sealed surfaces offer new possibilities for visually presenting brands on the vehicle exterior. Corresponding requirements such as weather resistance, UV resistance, and scratch resistance are naturally met.
If you would like to find out more about the KURZ Group’s new concepts in the automotive sector, we recommend you watch the following video and visit our website www.kurz-automotive.com.
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