Frankfurt—In what the Tier One supplier says is a world novelty, it is thermoforming 3D instrument cluster panels for BMW using a black sheet it developed that allows warning lights and other displays to brightly shine through it, with no sign of distortion and no need for a secondary anti-reflective coating. The parts also show no sign of polarization at their sharp edges.
Johnson Controls’ negatively thermoformed 3D instrument cluster panel for BMW.
He also said the company has optimized its thermoforming so as to reduce the reflection/interference known as Newton’s rings at the sharp thermoformed edges between the flat printed analog speedometer and tachometer, and the surrounding digital information display.
The company showed off a broad range of instrument clusters, most of them drawing attention to the individual 'looks' it can achieve on injection molded decorative rings that could be added to, for example, the speedometer to give it a carbon fiber-printed surface appearance or a chrome appearance. "This lets our customers differentiate their brands without a big investment," explained Nebout.
Also on display were some prototypes of revealing how the instrument cluster of the future might appear, with a TFT (thin-film transistor) display integrated into the speedometer and tachometer so that there a driver would see not only speed or RPMs but also entertainment system information, navigational advice, or more. —Matt Defosse