The illuminated scuff plate is a luxury component of the special equipment, but all end-customers have wanted it to date; that is why the Michelau factory delivers 100 of the popular parts to Munich each day
 
Illuminated scuff plate is the popular highlight of a BMW 6 Series 
The flowing body lines already reveal something of the “lightness of being” in the interior of the new BMW 6 Series. When you open the doors, “your gaze firstly descends on the reddish glimmering scuff plate with the BMW insignia … of course that makes an impression” was how SPIEGEL-Online put it, right at the beginning of a test drive report. In Michelau, Scherer & Trier have developed the indirectly lit scuff plate as part of the special equipment. The end-customers gave it an enthusiastic reception and the complex part has been requested with all orders, instead of with an expected 40% of them.

The combined brainstorming of ideas to be implemented with Scherer & Trier’s BMW Project Team occurred at the start of the product development. The elegant-looking scuff plate should be uniformly brightly lit. Since the LEDs on the electric FPC films inside the plate are arranged like a garland, the light distribution had firstly to be optimized. By means of computer simulation, technicians from Delphi, the suppliers of the film, determined the correct strength of the transparent covering plastic which disperses the photons. On closer inspection, the scuff plate, also from a manufacturing point of view, turns out to be a component that packs a punch. Thus, the outer surface is molded before the intended surface pattern is produced by hot stamping.
  “The various coefficients of expansion of the materials must be harmonized to the maximum degree” is how Michael Terschanski, the Product Developer in charge, describes the main difficulty. Seven process steps are necessary to complete the tread-resistant design item: molding, embossing, blackening, stamping, dabbing print, assembly (bonding) and fitting the clips.
One of the most difficult tasks has been to protect the LEDs from moisture, to prevent corrosion. Resistance tests in the own laboratory, such as climatic change and salt spray mist, had produced good results but only an additional test with damp air ‘turned light into darkness’, as individual LEDs failed. “As a result we improved the bonding technology and organized the process technology and assembly together in such a way that a good seal was guaranteed”, is how Gernot Brand, Project Coordinator, summarizes the successful planning of remedial measures.
The Michelau factory provides combined expertise for complex thermoplastic components for cars and can call on suitable equipment and competence for experiments, bonding as well as lighting and stamping technology. An illuminated scuff plate from Michelau is also supplied as special equipment for the BMW 6 Series Convertible.
 




published
2004/03/25



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