Finland’s TactoTek has developed an injection moulded structural electronics (IMSE) design which has been approved for interior automotive use.
The Oulu-based developer of IMSEs reported 24 May that it worked directly with an OEM which funded the project to adapt their traditional electronics part to IMSE design rules.
Tests were conducted by automotive test laboratories under contract to the OEM, which has chosen to remain anonymous.
The advanced design, said TcatoTek, includes more features than the traditional electronics solution on which it was modelled.
“Our customer came to us with very bold, innovative ideas for industrial design and an ambitious set of features,” explained Miikka Kärnä, TactoTek head of product creation.
The challenge, he added, was to engineer an IMSE solution that met requirements for form factor, function, and performance.
“An iterative development process resulted in an IMSE part that is 3-dimensional, only 3.5 mm thick and reduces mass by 60%,” Kärnä added.
The IMSE part includes: Printed circuitry; printed touch controls, including multiple buttons and sliders; printed 3D gesture recognition antenna; and 33 LEDs that provide illumination for styling, icon/control back lighting and task lighting.
All printed electronics and LEDs for lighting effects are moulded within the 3D plastic structure.
Unlike multi-part traditional electronics construction, the IMSE solution required only one injection moulding tool to produce. This results in a single, integrated part, substantially reducing assembly times.
The unit can withstand, among others, thermal shocks ranging -40C to +85C, humidity temperature cycling as well as shaking and rattling.