"Consumers tell us they want more customization in the instrument cluster," says Brian Trudeau, product manager, instrument clusters, Visteon Corp. (www.visteon.com; Van Buren Township, MI), while standing amid various glowing displays at the '05 Consumer Electronics Show. The technologies Visteon is deploying include:
HI-DENSITY APPLIQUÉ—The process foregoes traditional screen printing in favor of a laser that prints photographic quality images directly onto the polycarbonate substrate of the cluster appliqué. Trudeau says the laser can create more detailed images faster since only one pass through the printer is necessary, unlike some screen printing applications which can require multiple runs. Visteon is targeting OEMs who want to customize their IPs with logos, though palm trees and other appealing images are not out of the question.
VIRTUAL 3D APPLIQUÉ—In another twist on the printing process, Visteon has developed a method that gives a 2-mm thick polycarbonate film the appearance of 20-mm in depth. The 3D illusion is created by printing interference patterns onto both the front and back sides of the film appliqué that diffract light, fooling the eye into seeing depth where it isn't. Trudeau says the technology is mature and ready for mass production.
COLORWASH LED LIGHTING—The '05 Mustang may have been the first to market with adjustable color IP lighting, but Visteon is upping the ante with its Colorwash system, which uses an array of tri-color LEDs to provide up to 20 different color variations for the display, backlight, frontlight, and pointer illumination. This adds up to a lot of color combination possibilities, and that's just the point. Trudeau foresees Colorwash as a win-win system that can be cost-effectively mass produced for the OEM while being easily customizable for the end consumer.—KEW