TactoTek and fischer automotive announced that they have collaborated on a smart surface technology demonstrator to show examples of design innovation that fulfill market demands for integrating styling, electronic functions and manufacturability of smart surfaces at commercial scale. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Smart Materials Opportunities in Structural Electronics and Electrics 2020-2030.
"Demands on vehicle interior systems are very high today, and solutions must offer appealing design combined with high quality materials," noted Johannes Konrad, Head of the Management Board from fischer automotive. "How parts integrate within future vehicle interiors as well as the individual functions and design elements must be considered together. Moreover, user interfaces must deliver intuitive operation, and increasingly use patterns are driven by consumer electronics."
To show user experience features and manufacturability, fischer automotive and TactoTek developed a technology demonstrator. The fischer automotive/TactoTek demonstrator features sensor surfaces for operating command input that are illuminated with LEDs molded directly into the plastic that forms the engineered structure of the part. In addition to individual sensors, a raised round knob is used for multi-touch rotary inputs. The knob is enhanced with tactile features to guide users. Illumination is used for styling, guiding interactions and communicating vehicle status information to the driver.
In the design, the human-machine interface sensors, circuitry and lighting are integrated within a seamless single piece injection molded part that also provides the mechanical structure and is only 3mm thick. The part is designed and manufactured using TactoTek IMSE technology.
TactoTek develops, industrializes and licenses IMSE™ technology that combines printed electronics and electronic components within single piece, seamless 3D injection molded structures. Surface finishes range from plastics to elegant natural materials, including wood. The company packages its technology for licensees in two products, IMSE Designer™ for IMSE part design, and IMSE Builder™ for IMSE part mass production, testing and quality assurance. For automotive markets, TactoTek licensees mass produce IMSE parts.
"fischer automotive is well-known for design innovation in vehicle interiors, including air vents and multi-function components that are high value innovation areas for smart surfaces," noted Sami Hyyryläinen, SVP Field Operations at TactoTek. "Our shared demonstrator illustrates new styles of controls for which IMSE is well-suited and results in parts that benefit from the qualities of IMSE technology, including being light, thin and easily integrated, while delivering total cost efficiency."
TactoTek is a leading provider of solutions for Injection Molded Structural Electronics (IMSE) that integrate printed circuitry and electronic components into 3D injection molded plastics. Leading use cases include in-vehicle applications, home/industrial appliances, and wearable technology. TactoTek adapts customer designs to IMSE technology, develops mass production ready prototypes, and mass produces or licenses the technology for 3rd party mass production. TactoTek is funded by Conor Venture Partners, Ascend Capital Partners, Faurecia Ventures, Plastic Omnium, Nanogate, VTT Ventures and Leaguer VC. For more information, please visit www.tactotek.com
About the fischer group of companies
The fischer Group of Companies, headquartered in Waldachtal in Germany's Northern Black Forest, generated sales of 864 million Euros in 2018 with a worldwide staff of 5,200 employees. The family-owned enterprise operates 47 of its companies in 35 countries and exports to more than 100 countries. It includes the five divisions: fischer fixing systems, fischer automotive, fischertechnik, fischer consulting and LNT Automation. fischer fixing systems is the technological market leader in important areas of fixing technology. fischer offers products that deliver technical perfection to a wide range of customers, from do-it-yourselfers to craftsmen to key account partners. fischer automotive manufactures high-quality parts for car interiors. The company is highly competent in the plastics processing segment and is an important partner for the automotive industry. fischer automotive produces air vents, cup holders, trays and multi-function components. fischertechnik is active both in the construction kit and in the educational toy sector. As one of the last toy makers, fischertechnik develops and produces exclusively in Germany. fischer consulting evolved from the competence and skills developed in the company itself, among these the fischer ProcessSystem with its central aim of permanent and continuous improvement for the ultimate benefit of the customer. fischer consulting advises small and medium-sized businesses, government agencies and major companies on their way towards lean and efficient processes.
LNT Automation develops and manufactures custom electronic solutions. The company also develops, produces and distributes custom and capacitive touch systems such as multi-touch solutions made of glass and the corresponding controller units. All electronics are manufactured in-house.
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