When Stars Shine in the Car

Weinheim, Germany September 4, 2013 When the Opel Adam and its extras are presented at the International Motor Show (IAA) from September 12 to 22, one new feature will outshine them all: The starry headliner. Freudenberg NOK Mechatronics Business Group developed the flexible printed circuit board technology for the popular car’s star-filled headliner. Doing so was no simple task: The individual lights in the large, domed roof needed to be precisely connected without using any wires. The star-filled headliner also needed to be ready for serial production. It was the first time that the flexible, printed-circuit-board technology was used on such a large surface. After a mere one-and-a-half years, Freudenberg engineers and developers worked with the headliner manufacturer to develop an individual solution for Opel. The result is sixty-four LED lamps shining like tiny and large stars on the car’s roof. "Thanks to Freudenberg technology, it is now possible for a car like the Opel Adam to have a star-filled headliner - which had previously only been available in luxury vehicles - in series production," says Christophe Luciani, responsible for Sales, Purchasing and Quality Management in the NOK Mechatronics Board of Management. "We worked closely with the customer to create such an innovative product." The star-filled headliner is just one of many Freudenberg products at the motor show developed by working closely with customers.

At the customer's request, the popular new Opel Adam has been available with the new starry headliner and Freudenberg technology since February: The flat version of the star-filled 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 and 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 they can be switched on both while driving and stopped.

The customer may choose between five fabric covers. The covers range from various single colors to fall leaves and clouds against a blue sky. "The trend is moving towards giving customers ever more individualized vehicles," Says Dr. Wulf Bramesfeld, Technical Sales Manager at Freudenberg NOK Mechatronics. "Freudenberg is a flexible printed circuit board technology expert and used the technology on a large scale for the first time and combined it with new materials. The challenge was electronically connecting and precisely inserting the lamps on such a thin and domed surface. A standardized solution has now been created that impressed our customer, Opel." The headliner is popular as seen in the steadily rising production volumes.

Automobile manufacturers rely on individual solutions from Freudenberg to help reduce emissions. Starting on September 12th at the IAA, Mercedes will present the new S-Class containing Freudenberg products in its motor to help reduce the vehicle’s weight. The cooling water connecting tubes and water pump cover in the new S-Class were developed so that they could be manufactured using a multi-component, injection-molding plastic elastomer. The products were altered for the process so that plastic can be used in place of metal to reduce weight and cost. In addition, the seal is directly integrated directly into the housing using the multi-component injection-molding process in the same step.

Clean engines for a clean environment
Freudenberg Filtration Technologies also help reduce emissions. The newly developed motor air intake filters prove that lower emissions starts with cleaner air intake. Modern, high-performance motors need clean air to reach their highest level of performance. An engine intake air filter is designed to free incoming from contaminants; however caked on dust will increase filter resistance. The consequence is that the engine needs to use more energy to take in air. Doing so increases CO2 emissions. Freudenberg Filtration Technologies solved this problem with the completely synthetic micronAir engine intake air filter, which are very energy efficient thanks to a large dust intake capacity and low pressure loss. The engine intake air filter saves 0.6 g CO2 per kilowatt hour which is 60 g an hour for a car with a 100 kilowatt capacity. Every engine intake air filter is a unique development from Freudenberg Filtration Technologies and is created in cooperation with partners and customers. The completely synthetic micronAir engine intake air filter will come standard in the new Mercedes Benz C Class starting next year.

Innovative nonwovens for various applications
Freudenberg's newly developed nonwoven materials used to clean the incoming air are primarily responsible for the engine intake air filter's properties. Freudenberg uses specially developed nonwoven materials in the interior air filters in numerous models exhibited at the IAA, such as those from BMW, Lamborghini, Mercedes, Mazda, Porsche, Seat and Skoda. Even the first electrical powered car from Volkswagen, the VW E-Up, which will be presented in Hall 3.0 at stand A01, has an interior air filter from Freudenberg. Freudenberg Nonwovens supplied the base materials for the malleable carpets used manufacturers of various luxury car models.

The Freudenberg Sealing Technologies Business Group developed an active breathing cap for drive shafts in e-mobility and hybrid technologies for the LESS or Low Emission Sealing Solutions campaign using Freudenberg nonwoven materials. The intelligent design makes expensive ventilation valves unnecessary and the drives more affordable. Thanks to the innovative nonwoven technology, the permeable sealing cap allows for movement of air and prevents the entry of foreign bodies while also preventing lubricants from leaking out. The sealing cover is only one of several LESS products to help reduce emissions.

Less friction - lower emissions
LESS is more. More responsibility - thus the name of the environmental protection campaign from Freudenberg Sealing Technologies that presents extensive sealing solutions to help reduce emissions. Freudenberg Sealing Technologies developed the gas lubricated mechanical seal Levitex. The mechanical seal runs on a cushion of air thus generating 90 percent less friction loss compared to a conventional crankshaft seal. In a standard cycle, Levitex saves between 0.5 and 1 gram of CO2 per kilometer. The development of Levitex is an important step toward the creation of completely frictionless sealing technology in engines and drastically lower CO2 emissions. Emission reducing LESS products can be found in the Mercedes GLA and the BMW 5-Series at the IAA.