Back side of the control device showing the capacitive foil molded right into the plastic component. The visible side is a glossy piano black that is flow-coated with a polyurethane.
An innovative concept for vehicle interiors that replaces buttons, switches and knobs in the center console with a smooth injection molded surface has been developed and processed by Magna Exterior & Interior Systems (magna.com) and ENGEL (engelglobal.com), a leading supplier of injection molding machinery and systems.
The injection molded piece utilizes a capacitive foil on the inner surface, so the user can simply manipulate the settings via touch. Said Franz Füreder, head of ENGEL Automotive, which is headquartered in Schwertberg, Austria, “We are already talking to various OEMs. In four to five years, the first vehicles will be equipped with this sensitive surface technology.”
To produce the component there is an ENGEL duo 350 injection molding machine that is capable of performing multiple operations. The capacitive foil is inserted into the machine. Molding commences such that the top carrier is produced with an ABS-PC material; it is coated with polyurethane via a clear-melt process to protect the class A surface of the part. The piece as produced can be readily assembled into the interior of a vehicle.