Innovation in Automation

27 June, 2017

Considerable ingenuity is often required to bring the pieces of a modern automotive car together. Techniques of welding, annealing, shaping and heat forming can all play their part – from the construction of the humblest hatchback to the top of the line luxury car.

Recent work from Ceramicx is helping bring an important mid-range saloon order to fruition. We are supplying a leading automotive marque with bespoke IR heat systems in order to bond leatherette materials to the interiors of automotive passenger doors.

The process involves the heating of already formed parts, with quartz tungsten tubes. There are 8 platens in total which all fit onto one machine as required. The heaters are facing in both directions, up and down. The construction is made from aluminium profile with custom made stainless steel brackets holding custom shape and size heaters in place.

One frame has two banks of heaters, on the lower face of the frame there are straight tungsten heater for heating of the leatherette fabric. The upper heaters are custom shaped heaters to exactly match the surface shape of the part being heated. One control panel has also been supplied for all eight heater platens. The heaters are plugged into the panel as required and the HMI displays the correct platen and required information from the PLC program.

During operation the heater bank is rolled into place; the control panel switches the heaters on until the installed pyrometers reach the set point. At this stage the heaters are removed and the part and the pre-heated leatherette fabric are pressed together. This process is repeated for as many parts as required before changing over to another part and heater platen and repeat.

This recent order – for the demanding US market – represents one part of the automotive sector’s increasing demand for Ceramicx IR heat systems. Last month saw us presenting at the Warwick Manufacturing Group, UK in the company of Nissan, JLR and others supplying composite material parts to that industry.

The event illustrated that the appetite of today’s car industry for process ingenuity remains stronger than ever.  Ceramicx aims to match that appetite with IR heat solutions across the board.

The future challenges of automotive niche and Smart manufacturing will be met by those suppliers that can bring process ingenuity to the table and at optimum cost. 

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