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.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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