The 22nd international trade show for plastics processing "Fakuma" was hosted in Friedrichshafen from 16 to 20 October. Nearly 1,700 exhibitors presented their novelties and innovations in 12 exhibition halls. PolyIC co-exhibited at the stand of its parent company Leonhard Kurz. PolyIC presented two application examples at the trade show stand: an automobile center console featuring sensor controls and a multi-touch demonstrator showing different display applications of PolyTC® films.
Kurz and PolyIC have developed a technology for directly applying the transparent, conductive PolyTC® films for touch sensors and decorative coatings on the components simultaneously during the injection molding process. The functional PolyTC® films by PolyIC and the decorative films from Kurz are integrated into a combined process of Inmold Labeling (IML) and Inmold Decoration (IMD). PolyTC® films are produced as individual in-mold labels and inserted into one mold half. During back injection molding, the films are bonded with the back side of the plastic part. At the same time, a carrier film with a decorative coating is fed through the second mold half which is removed from the carrier during the injection molding process and bonds with the front side of the part. In order to implement the two applications in one molding process, a special tool technology had to be developed.
Additionally, functional films were required which can be processed using the IML process. The transparent and conductive PolyTC® films are suitable for being processed using the IML process.
When Kurz and PolyIC use the new technology to produce transparent touch displays, the touch functionality can be integrated using the in-mold technology which is a significant advantage. When the process is applied to touch sensor control panels of electrical and electronics devices, a consistent and elegant surface finish can be obtained. Typical application examples include control panels for automotive applications or white goods, multi-touch sensors for use in mobile communications and innovative capacitive control elements in consumer electronics applications. For instance, this technology enables the touch operation of a notebook computer or tablet PC to be implemented. This would allow, for instance, playing MP3 songs also when the housing is closed. The design variety and quality that can be manufactured with the IMD process can thus be fully used.
The manufacturing process of transparent touch displays and touch sensors was demonstrated at the trade show stands of the project partners at Fakuma. The company Roth-Werkzeugbau presented how touch sensors including decorative film and functional film can be produced. Sumitomo-Demag demonstrated how touch displays are manufactured in one work step.
This process is another milestone in new technologies for Kurz and PolyIC. It is an example of the outstanding synergies of parent company and subsidiary.