When Stars Shine in the Car

While China celebrates the traditional lunar festival on September 19th, the stars will shine bright at Freudenberg. The NOK Mechatronics Business Group developed a flexible printed circuit technology for German car maker Opel that allows the night skies to shine from the car's headliner. Opel offers this extra for its new lifestyle car, the Opel Adam. The trendy new car was presented last week at the International Automotive Show (IAA) in Frankfurt. Developing the headliner was not easy. The individual lights in the large and slightly rounded roof needed to be precisely connected without using any wires. The starry roof liner also needed to be ready for serial production. After just one-and-a-half years, engineers and developers at Freudenberg had worked together with the headliner manufacturer to develop an individual solution for Opel. The result: Sixty-four LED lamps shine like tiny and large stars in the roof of the car.

"Thanks to the Freudenberg technology, it is now possible for a trendy car like the Opel Adam to have a starry headliner in series production which had previously only been on offer in luxury vehicles," says Christophe Luciani, responsible for Sales, Purchasing and Quality Management in the NOK Mechatronics Board of Management. "Such an innovative product was created in close cooperation with our customers."

At the customer's request, the trendy new Opel Adam has been available with the new starry roof liner and Freudenberg technology since February: The flat version of the starry headliner in the roof is less than 0.2 millimeters thick. It can only be seen when turned on and has no rises or depressions. The headliner is also very light. The part weighs less than 150 grams. Power consumption is also very low. The scale illumination in the car radio uses much more power. Illumination can be adjusted using an integrated control panel in the roof liner, the lights can be dimmed so that the driver is not blinded and can be switched on both while driving and stopped. The headliner is a hit as indicated by the continued high production volumes.

Important innovations come from China.

The Freudenberg Group produces an average of 70 different components in a car and is thus one of the world's leading automotive suppliers. To make sure Freudenberg keeps its position, the Group is dedicated to innovation: In 2012, the Freudenberg Group expensed a total of about 1.8 billion Yuan for research and development. About 2,300 associates were employed in research and development with China lending significant momentum to innovation. Freudenberg has invested more than two billion Yuan in China over the past ten years.

Freudenberg has been active on the Chinese market for more than 100 years and is keeping this tradition alive. "China's share of revenue at the Freudenberg Group is continuously growing. We are expanding both our production capacity and sales channels and are betting on the innovative capacity of our local associates," says Hanno D. Wentzler, Regrional Representative Asia for the Freudenberg Group and Chairman of the Board of Management at Freudenberg Chemical Specialities.