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FAKUMA 2023: KURZ presents innovative surface finishing processes and technologies for the automotive sector

Fürth/Germany, October 10, 2023: The FAKUMA is one of the world’s leading trade fairs for the plastics processing industry. It will take place in Friedrichshafen from October 17 to 21, 2023, and offers a platform for companies to present their latest products, technologies, and services in the plastics processing segment. Some 1,500 international exhibitors will be attending the specialist event this year. Whether raw materials, processing machines, peripherals, or automation solutions - FAKUMA is a source of information and ideas as well as a trend barometer.

The automotive sector has always played an important role at FAKUMA. LEONHARD KURZ will present several innovative and sustainable solutions for the future of mobility in Friedrichshafen. “Our customers benefit from complete solutions in which all elements are perfectly coordinated, as well as from our many years of expertise. Our expertise covers decoration, functionality, technology, and in-depth know-how in process and tool technology. As a result, every surface can now be functionally equipped,” explains Luitpold Haarländer, Head of Sales Management Automotive in the Plastic Decoration Business Area at LEONHARD KURZ, and adds: “At FAKUMA, we will use various components to demonstrate pioneering processes that are already suitable for series production today.” The KURZ stand no. 4111 is located in Hall A4.


Art meets functionality: Rim design reinvented

The focus of KURZ’s automotive program for FAKUMA 2023 is a collaborative project with the German rim manufacturer Ronal. Here, by means of special plastic inserts, a conventional light metal rim not only becomes a striking visual highlight, but also a particularly aerodynamic wheel with less noise when driving. The inserts are injection molded and provided with a wafer-thin decorative layer using hot stamping PERFORMANCE+, which creates an elegant real chrome look. This innovative process is an optimization and further development of the hot-stamping process. The technology is not only more efficient and energy-saving but is even better suited for the finishing of 3D-formed components. The special feature of the new patent-pending process is that the hot-stamping foil is drawn into the two-part stamping tool using a vacuum. This means that the separate preheating of the material that was previously required is no longer necessary but is integrated into the process in a cycle-neutral manner. The decorative layer is then transferred to the component by means of heat and pressure, and the substrate is removed again. In contrast to conventional electroplating, no environmentally harmful chromium VI is used.

The new process will be implemented on the GEBA 8/1S - a machine from KURZ subsidiary BAIER, equipped with hot stamping tools from Hinderer + Mühlich (H+M), also part of the KURZ Group. A major advantage of the process is that automotive manufacturers who already own a GEBA machine can convert it for the new process without major modifications and with little effort and can continue to operate it as usual. Hot stamping PERFORMANCE+ will be demonstrated live at the KURZ stand.

Another highlight is the KURZ Machine Insight Services software developed in cooperation with the subsidiary KURZ Digital Solutions. The program collects and monitors production data in real time. Thanks to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) deployed, it also provides a reliable basis for increasing efficiency and reducing downtime.


New technologies and solutions for e-mobility and autonomous driving

Visitors can expect another automotive highlight at the KURZ stand: An advanced Rear End Cover concept. The Rear End Cover consists of an innovative 2K material mix finished via In-Mold Decoration. In-Mold Electronics can also be used to equip the component with sensors and technical features such as smart touch functionality and Shy Tech design. It supports all technologies required for autonomous driving and communicates with other road users using backlighting and 3D light effects. The Rear End Cover, which will be exhibited at the trade fair in the form of a physical demonstrator, was developed together with the KURZ subsidiaries BURG DESIGN, PolyIC, and SCHÖFER.

FAKUMA visitors to the KURZ stand can discover the design options offered by IMD technology in combination with laser engraving through an innovative front cover. While IMD enables, among other things, day-night designs, backlighting, and even animations for various functions, individual design variants and special editions can be implemented using laser technology. Last but not least, the front panel, which is characterized by its closed, homogeneous surface, can be provided with a self-healing, crystalline decoration thanks to the KURZ DECOPUR® solution.

KURZ will also be showcasing a smart Wallbox at FAKUMA, the surface of which can do much more than simply indicate the charge level. The charging station, developed in cooperation with BURG DESIGN and PolyIC, combines processes such as IMD, PMD, pattern printing, and hot stamping and offers a wide variety of customer-specific designs by using various finishing processes. Shy Tech design, backlighting, haptic surfaces, REACH-compliant metallization with chrome or indium - there are a variety of options from low budget to high-end, and from small series to mass production. Thanks to individual laser treatment, which will also be demonstrated live at the stand using a laser machine from ACSYS, the Wallbox can also display operating instructions, the remaining range with the current charge level, or the electricity tariff currently in use. Access authorization can also be regulated via the functional decoration - the design possibilities are endless and become tangible at FAKUMA. In addition, recycled material can be used both for the Wallbox itself and for the decoration.


A perfect combination of functionality, design, and decoration

In the automotive interior segment, Shy Tech designs and homogeneous, multifunctional surfaces are becoming increasingly popular. KURZ will demonstrate this at FAKUMA with groundbreaking solutions that impress with smooth, closed surfaces and smart functions without levers and switches. Among other things, a new design of the Overhead Light Console which will be implemented together with WITTMANN BATTENFELD, Plastic Omnium and Syntech, which was presented for the first time in 2022, will be shown. The module for the roof-lining is produced, decorated, and equipped with sensors from the KURZ subsidiary PolyIC in a single step using the IMD or IME process. It is not only characterized by its seamless, closed, 3D-shaped surface, integrated touch operation, Shy Tech design, and backlighting, but also functions as both an ambient light and a reading light.

Using the example of an HMI (Human-Machine Interface) panel, KURZ impressively illustrates how decorative surfaces can not only be equipped with smart functions, but also effectively backlit and refined with indium for a metallic look. The component was implemented and decorated using the IMD process. Tool technology from SCHÖFER and structural technology from Reichle were deployed in the process. The latter will also be demonstrated live at the KURZ stand. In addition, the Fürth-based thin-film specialist will be exhibiting further demonstrators at FAKUMA which show the integration of sensors and the production of topcoat layers for displays with touch functions using IMD.

Interested parties can find more information about KURZ’s trade fair presentation and solutions on the website dedicated to FAKUMA.


At a glance

FAKUMA 2023 from October 17 to 21 in Friedrichshafen
LEONHARD KURZ Stiftung & Co. KG: Hall A4, Stand 4111
Our trade fair presentation focuses on Automotive, Home Appliances, Sustainability

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