AUXILIARY EQUIPMENT: Infrared Heating Systems Accelerate Car Production

Space and time saved thanks to infrared system’s fast, homogenous heating.

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Citing case studies from automotive OEM Bentley and Tier One supplier Faurecia, Heraeus Noblelight says its optimally matched infrared systems can deburr, weld or form automotive plastic parts with high efficiency. Faurecia has reportedly reduced dashboard-forming cycle times by 20 sec using Heraeus Noblelight infrared emitters. Bentley, meanwhile, uses the technology to ensure perfect fitting roof liners in its luxury car bodies, according to Heraeus Noblelight. The company notes that these will be just some of the infrared technology it brings to K 2016.

Faurecia had used a combination of metal foil emitters and steam to coat a sound-proofing layer on dashboards, with a negative impact on process time. Now it uses carbon infrared emitters, which transfer large amounts of energy quickly, eliminating the need for steam, which had been used for pre-heating.

The components to be molded are now heated directly in their tools, increasing their heating rate 16%, which cut the time required from around 60 sec to  20 sec. Furthermore, eliminating pre-heating, amounted in energy savings of about 9 kW/hour, for potential total energy savings exceeding 35%.

For Bentley’s roof liners, which consist of a carrier fabric, an adhesive and a decorative leather facing piece, the goal is for the combined structure to maintain its integrity for the life of the vehicle. When Bentley introduced a new adhesive, which increased bond strength 5-fold, the OEM needed to find a suitable heat source, otherwise, the new adhesive’s activation temperature of 65 C (149 F) would impact cycle time.

The solution was a custom-built, trim-handling system incorporating infrared emitters. The carrier fabric is first sprayed with adhesive and then the leather cladding is precisely fixed in a vacuum press. The infrared system next heats the adhesive to 65°C in less than three minutes. In practice, two custom-built infrared systems have been installed, one for the Bentley Continental 4-door model and one for the 2-door version. Heraeus Noblelight notes that its infrared emitters are used in the manufacture of at least 200 car parts.