3D Ultrasonic Wire Laying for Ice-Free Car Bodies
The concept of "autonomous driving" is dependent on a large number of sensors. This also includes ultrasonic sensors installed at different positions in the vehicle. It is essential that the car body parts behind which the sensors are placed are ice-free even in winter.
So far, solutions for sub-zero temperatures that originate from the production of window heaters have been tested. Wire structures are applied to a film and then joined to a body component by overmoulding or bonding.
The machine developer Ruhlamat, in cooperation with a robot manufacturer, has developed an innovative solution that makes this additional work step unnecessary and is more flexible in the design of wire structures on 3D contours.
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The Breakthrough: New Developments in Robot Technology
The 3D wire laying technology was originally developed at Ruhlamat for the fast and cost-saving production of antennas for smart cards and RFID inlays. The advantages of this production method are already being used in the manufacture of headlight heaters. Based on this new development, it is now also possible to apply 3D-laid wire structures to other car body parts.
It is now possible to control the force with which a robot moves the ultrasonic 3D wire laying head over the surface to be laid to the extent that neither the wire nor the part is damaged. A further aspect that made this novel solution possible is the extended degree of freedom of the robot movement.
Combined with Ruhlamat's decades of experience in the development of 3D ultrasonic wire laying heads, a pioneering method was developed.
Further Development: From Heating to Sensor Technology
In the future, the contacting of the laid 3D wire structures with functional electronics should become feasible. With this extension of the concept now presented, it is possible to turn the 3D-laid copper wire structure into a radio-technical part of the integrated sensor system.
Whether heating or a functional component of the sensor system – the advantage of the new Ruhlamat method is that it can be used both as a stand-alone solution and integrated into a production line.