There’s a cool new backlighting technology on display at the 63rd International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany. The instrument luster on BMW’s new 5-series features inverse forming technology for three-dimensional black panel film that has no distorted effects. In conventional thermoforming, thinning occurs at certain places on the film causing polarization in these areas in the form of rainbow-like distortions known as Newton’s rings. Achim Hosenfeld, vice president electronics at Johnson Controls, says: “Unlike before, the film is placed down into the forming tool. The result is a special embossed surface structure that is imprinted by the texture of the tool. This eliminates the need for an expensive anti-reflective coating and also makes the display easy to read.”
The black 3D film produces a smooth transition between the flat printed surfaces of the analog instruments and the digital information display.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.