Chrome-plated decorative trims with 3D lettering in two different matt shades, which also glow in different colours at night, have only been in series production in the car interior of a German OEM for a few weeks. Dr. Carsten Brockmann, Managing Director of KTB GmbH, knows: “This considerably increases the value of interior design. In addition, this day-night design makes it possible to further individualise the interior of the car.
The different day-night design – the feel of the 3D lettering during the day and the luminous colour chosen by the driver during the night – creates an “aha” experience. The topic of customizable interior ambience is currently a trend among OEMs. Dr. Carsten Brockmann is enthusiastic: “With the surface and contour lighting of the decorative trim, we have developed a new design element that appeals to the senses.
At KTB, components made of polycarbonate (PC) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) are produced using the multi-component injection moulding process and finished in our in-house electroplating shop. The polycarbonate is located on the back of the component and cannot be electroplated. This means that the component remains chrome-free at these points. In contrast, in electroplating, the ABS area is coated with a metallic coating. Then the laser processing takes place in a partial area on the front side to make it locally translucent for light. After laser processing, the panels receive a final external coating and are visually inspected.
KTB has many years of experience and extensive expertise in plastics production, in tool making for injection moulds and in electroplating for indoor and outdoor applications with various surface qualities. For the laser structuring of the plastic parts, KTB has opted for the solution from ACSYS. Dr. Carsten Brockmann recalls the beginning of the cooperation between the KTB developers and the specialists from the ACSYS pilot plant: “We had commissioned various possible suppliers with structuring tests on a prototype component. Only the experiments of ACSYS came very close to our idea. “We were thrilled with the accuracy of the laser system right from the start.” The solution was subsequently developed through extensive tests in the ACSYS laboratory. “We proactively act as a provider of ideas with high development, application and service competence for every customer order”, Gerhard Kimmel, Managing Director of ACSYS Lasertechnik GmbH, looks back on the project implementation. “The customer feels this team knowledge when he comes to us with a task.”
For laser processing at KTB, the BARRACUDA system is used. The BARRACUDA is an all-rounder with a generous, very easily accessible work area. For laser applications at KTB, the all-rounder made of high-strength steel stands vibration-free on a machine base made of temperature-stable granite. The laser process takes place in several steps, in each of which a partial area of the decorative aperture is structured with fine diamonds of 200 x 200 µm in size. For this purpose, the elongated aperture area is divided into sections. “We’ve been testing the system for a year and it’s running stable and highly accurate. There are no approaches between the machining sections that could arise, for example, due to travel tolerances,” says Dr. Carsten Brockmann.
The laser system was also equipped with the two-camera Live Adjust System (LAS). The first camera shows an overview of the processing area, while the second camera “captures” the processing area directly through the laser beam path, which enables partial, high-resolution reproduction of the section to be processed.
“In the last two years we have jointly developed the machining technology and are very satisfied with the quality of the parts,” Dr. Carsten Brockmann looks back. “We recently purchased a second laser system of the same type to secure the planned annual volume of 200,000 units. Series production started at the end of the second half of 2017: “Since we started supplying the decorative trims for luxury cars of a German OEM, we have received positive feedback throughout,” says Dr. Carsten Brockmann, attesting to the high quality of the plastic products. “We are very satisfied with the laser system.”
Travel xyz: 750 x 350 x 370 mm
Granite machine base
LAS HD Pro – Live Adjust System
Ground steel T-slot plate
Flexible control panel on castors
Laser class 1
Housing: Dimensions W/H/D 1320 x 1890 x 1,880 mm
Weight approx. 1,100 kg
max. workpiece weight 120 kg
Inside surface 1.150 x 580 mm
Axis positioning accuracy to 300 mm: X x Y: ±25 µm
Kunststofftechnik Bernt GmbH Dr.-Herbert-Kittel-Straße 10; D-87600 Kaufbeuren Tel.: +49 8341 966128-382; Fax: +49 8341 966128-360 E-Mail: email@example.com
ACSYS Lasertechnik GmbH Leibnizstraße 9; 70806 Kornwestheim Tel +49 7154 80875-0; Fax +49 7154 80875-19 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact for the press: Thilo von Grafenstein
Tel +49-7154-808-75-13; ACSYS Lasertechnik GmbH
Press photos for download can be found under www.acsys.de/transfer/180726_ACSYS_KT_Bernt.zip