An introduction to Displays and In-Mold Electronics
We speak to Heather Nelson, director of Displays and In-Mold Electronics (IME) at ESI Automotive.
Displays and IME have become key components in the automotive industry, as OEMs and Tier 1s are continually looking for ways to improve vehicle user experience, whether it is through the introduction of autonomous driving technology or cutting-edge display interfaces.
With the increasing number of displays in cars combined with the rise of electric vehicles, the use of IME is helping to reduce the weight and complexity of parts, allowing manufacturers to extend the battery range even further.
Data has shown that consumers are putting emphasis on range when purchasing an electric vehicle, thus creating opportunities for car manufacturers to innovate within this area.
Several trends have emerged within the displays and the IME market, particularly (but not exclusively) in the manufacture of electric vehicles. Lightweighting, for example, can help reduce the complexity of designs and make them thinner and more lightweight – helping to enhance the aesthetic look of the vehicle.
Flat touchscreens in vehicles have historically been an important feature for users. However, safety information now indicates that they may pose risks for interaction during driving. As such, more textured effects, such as raised buttons, are increasingly being incorporated into displays, allowing users to distinguish between different features without compromising safety.
High-quality materials and design considerations
ESI Automotive works alongside OEMs, Tier 1s and applicators across the whole automotive supply chain, continually innovating to provide materials for cutting-edge technology development. To answer to evolving trends outlined above, there is an opportunity to create these features using our IME, something that was not previously possible with glass.
Displays and IME will be a major focus for the next generation of vehicles and complements the product lines traditionally available through ESI Automotive. Currently, this may be the materials to make a printed circuit board for a touchscreen in a car, as well as the hardcoated film that covers that screen.
Specialists in IME
As market leaders for hardcoated films and high-quality electronics products for the fabrication and assembly of printed circuit boards (PCB), our in-depth product knowledge, the associated process skills, and the technical support offered to customers helps us stand out in the market. For example, this skill set has paved the way for the development of XMAPP – our process improvement system for XtraForm FIM applicators, which forms part of our QPS program.
By continuing and expanding this breadth and application of knowledge, we aim to become a “go-to” source for all levels of the automotive supply chain seeking to develop or manufacture a display or IME part.
Flat touchscreens in vehicles have historically been an important feature for users. More textured effects, such as raised buttons, are increasingly being incorporated into displays, allowing users to distinguish between different features without compromising safety.
Integrated solutions provider
In addition to the range of materials offered by ESI Automotive for decorative and electronic applications, we also use our expertise to provide support to the automotive industry throughout the entire product development process.
This relationship with different stages of the automotive supply chain allows us to stay at the forefront of the industry and navigate future potential challenges together with our customers. For example, as specifications are becoming more complex and stringent than those for general industrial use, ESI Automotive can help the automotive industry formulate new specifications for producing parts that are functional and meet safety requirements while achieving low yield loss in production.
This expertise has allowed us to work on developing and extending our displays and IME range to meet growing demands, as technology in this area goes above and beyond traditional films and electronic materials. By bringing these sectors and product ranges together through ESI Automotive, we hope to simplify the process for customers, allowing them to access a single information point.
As the adoption of more sustainable manufacturing processes gain traction in the automotive market, OEMs and Tier 1s must offer solutions that are in line with the latest regulations. Our vast knowledge in the area means that we are continually looking at how we can improve the sustainability of our products and processes. For instance, by minimizing raw material wastage and yield loss in our production lines, we are trying to be as efficient as possible.
This means we can advise our customers on how to minimize wastage, in line with their sustainability efforts, but also to ensure that we are one step ahead of the industry and helping to future-proof any technology.