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6/29/2018 | 1 MINUTE READ

Test Lab Validated Injection Molded Structural Electronics Part for Auto OEM

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TactoTek’s IMSE design includes more features than traditional electronics solutions. 

Finland’s TactoTek (U.S. office in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) has announced that one of its injection molded structural electronics (IMSE) designs has passed an automotive OEM’s test requirements for interior use in its vehicles.

The company worked directly with the OEM who funded the project to adapt its traditional electronics parts to IMSE design rules. Tests were conducted by automotive test laboratories under contract to the OEM, which has opted to remain anonymous.

TactoTek creates IMSE parts that integrate flexible printed circuitry and discrete electronic components into mass-produced 3D injection-molded plastics. With its patented and patent-pending technology, the company enables differentiating and cost-effective designs with highly-scalable production processes. Founded in 2011, TactoTek is funded by Conor Venture Partners, Faurecia Ventures, VTT Ventures, Leaguer VC, TEKES, and EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

Said to be a very advanced design, the tested IMSE part includes more features than the traditional electronics solution on which it was modeled. “Out customer came to us with a very bold, innovative ideas for industrial design and an ambitious set of features—the resulting part is their vision realized using an IMSE solution that met their requirements for form factor, function, and performance,” said Miikka Karna, TactoTek’s head of product creation. An iterative development process resulted in an IMSE part that is only 0.4 in. (3.5 mm) thick, with mass reduced by 60%.

Among its many features, 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 molded within the 3D plastic structure; resulting in a single, easily-integrated part. Unlike multi-part traditional electronics construction, the IMSE solution required only one injection molding tool to produce.

The independent labs subjected the IMSE parts to a wide range of automotive tests including:

  • Thermal shock (-40C to +85C)
  • Low-temperature and high-temperature operation
  • Humidity temperature cycling
  • EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) testing
  • Shake and rattle testing