Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018

Optical Bonding of Automotive Smart Surfaces

Optical bonding requires precise hydraulic management and preparation.

Behr Hella Thermo Control (BHTC) of Lippstadt, Germany, manufactures automotive interior components. As the demand for smarter cars increases, BHTC encountered a new automotive interior challenge: optical bonding of automotive smart surfaces. The challenge of optical bonding led to a working relationship with Precision Valve and Automotive (PVA) of Cohoes, NY, to meet BHTC’s production and flexibility needs.

The original optically bonded smart surface technology was implemented in aviation and military sectors on large screens with limited variation. The production of these components was low-volume and less aesthetically complicated than the emerging automotive screens being produced today. The trend shows an increase in smart surface use across many consumer products. Televisions, washing machines, gas pumps, and refrigerators all have smart surfaces integrated into their designs.

Automobiles — even basic models — will soon include at least one display, and may include five or more. As the auto industry adopts smart surface technology, the demands on smart surfaces increase. Robust display assemblies with moisture, shock, and even head impact regulations are integration necessities. Screens need to be glare-free, with a wide viewing angle and vivid lighting, as well as being dimmable for night use. These parameters lead the auto industry to optical bonding as a required process, not an upgrade. With this kind of market demand, BHTC was faced with the decision to buy smart surfaces already bonded from another vendor and incorporate them into their product, or pursue the intimidating field of optical bonding themselves.

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