Ultra-Lightweight Automotive Lighting and Sensor Housings with Structural Capabilities

Votes: 3
Views: 138
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LED lighting technology is already prevalent in the Automotive Industry, taking on increasingly prominent aesthetic design as well as safety roles. Significantly increased lighting output, required to meet tightening insurance industry requirements, coupled with a proliferation of illuminated lamp features has already led to a top Tier-1 Lighting supplier executive to proclaim “Lamp weight has gone up exponentially!” during a recent interview. Current plastic-based lamp housing technology is at the limit of its capabilities, which augurs poorly for the integration of the myriad of sensors required for Automated Vehicles (AVs) given the considerably heat generated by all these devises.

Weight, Size and Cost continue to increase while OEMs require significantly lighter, more compact, cost-effective solutions in order to meet stringent CO2 emission while endowing currently bloated EVs with sufficient range to satisfy customer needs at reasonable costs.

The Ultra-Lightweight solution: Replace Heavy, Bulky, non-Thermally conductive, Inefficient, Porous, Environmentally Damaging Plastics with Environmentally Friendly, Fully Recyclable, Non-toxic, Plentiful, Lightweight, 10X Stronger, Thermally Conductive Injection Molded Magnesium (Thixomolded) housing construction.

Able to replicate any plastic design in geometry yet, at essentially 40% lower mass, Thixomolded lamp housings enable major improvements in cooling performance via direct thermal exchange instead of via additional heat sinks while yielding up to 60% overall weight and size reductions, leading to design simplification and lower costs. Thixomolding technology already dominating the Laptop Computer market and now making rapid inroads in the automotive sector given its numerous functional advantages.

Multiple OEMs have already adopted Magnesium front-end support structures. Thixomolded Headlamps and Tail Lamps housings further reduce Mass, Volume and Cost while providing a major Strength increase, enabling the elimination of much of the current support structures in the process as the lamp housing is thus amply able to handle the direct structural loads, as opposed to being just a bolt-on item.

For example, with multiple vehicles already featuring Magnesium Tailgates, the opportunity to integrate Lighting and Body Structures is now practical. Rather than a conventional plastic lamp attached to the panel, the Thixomolded Magnesium structure itself doubles as the actual lamp housing, thereby providing ample cooling for lighting and sensor functions, enable ADAS and AV functionality while introducing major Mass, Bulk and Cost reductions in the process. The superior rigidity and dimensional accuracy make the Thixomolded parts ideal to house Cameras, LiDAR, RADAR and other sensors requiring accuracy in positioning coupled with robustness and superior cooling.

Current costly LED lighting is also plagued by high warranty cost, primarily due to condensation caused by moisture penetration, which is absorbed by the plastic housings. Magnesium Thixomolded construction eliminates all moisture absorption and ingress hence resolving a critical industry warranty problem while enabling the incorporation of advanced sensor functions as otherwise LiDAR and Camera sensors are effectively blinded by the presence of moisture in front of the cameras.

High capacity Magnesium Thixomolding presses are now available thus enabling the economical manufacture of large format Magnesium components, with the Jeep Wrangler already featuring a Thixomolded spare tire carrier.

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  • ABOUT THE ENTRANT

  • Name:
    Michael Pickholz
  • Type of entry:
    individual
  • Profession:
    Engineer/Designer
  • Michael is inspired by:
    Seek to achieve design simplification, distill design elements and functions to achieve simplest, most straightforward solution to the issue at hand. Simplest is usually "Best". Understand WHY something is done as opposed to HOW. HOW is convention - the way it is normally done - while understanding WHY opens the door for creativity, to think fully "outside-of-the-box"...
  • Software used for this entry:
    FloEFD
  • Patent status:
    patented