- Laser engraving and silicone embossing drum technology make an endless variety of designs possible
- Surfvis 3D simulates the manufacture of components down to the tiniest detail
- All relevant material tests performed in our own facility
Hanover, June 7, 2018. The seats are comfortable and provide support, the armrests offer relaxed comfort, the dashboard and the door paneling radiate elegance and clarity without looking cold and sober. Everything fits together; a person feels at ease here. The surface design was provided by Continental.
Because Continental offers its customers in the automobile industry much more than just high-quality surface solutions for vehicle interiors. Numerous additional design and service solutions make it possible for automobile manufacturers to differentiate themselves from their competitors, to increase their attractiveness as a provider, and to increase customer satisfaction. Thus, Continental supports vehicle developers and designers in designing and harmonizing the interior from the beginning.
The combination of laser engraving and silicone embossing drum technology developed by the technology company makes an endless variety of designs possible and thereby ensures exclusivity for the customer and a high level of perceived value in the automobile interior. The surface designers also ensure that all components – regardless of the material – form a unified appearance in the end. The holistically harmonized automobile interior is the goal at the end of the development process.
Trend scouts on the hunt around the world
The trend scouts of Continental are on the hunt around the world and can therefore give customers insight into the design trends of tomorrow. Always in focus: the trends of the automotive branch. The designers of Continental are also always engaged in creative dialogue with design networks and universities. All of this goes into the TrendCode, an innovative, interactive tool that can provide inspiration for creators, designers, and customers. This tool supports customers with creative and innovative design ideas.
Work begins with a three-dimensional grain development on the computer. From a genuine leather design to purely technical structures, everything is possible here. With laser engraving, the structure is transferred from the computer to a master drum made of high-strength plastic. This positive form then ultimately provides the negative form of the test drums. These are used to emboss the samples until one of these achieves 100% customer approval.
Now, harmonization begins. The surface simulation Surfvis 3D is helpful here. It simulates the manufacture of components such as dashboards and door panels down to the smallest detail, three-dimensionally. This allows Continental to support the customer during the design phase and to quickly give him feedback on whether or not the desired design can be implemented, where thin areas, folds, or grain torsion can occur. With the simulation, components can be optimized so that the best possible result can be achieved. The simulation program can even reproduce the grain itself and thus makes a photorealistic representation of the surface on the subsequent component possible.
In addition, Continental can produce any grain for any component in any color. This makes it possible for the company to perfectly match even different materials.
The drums for series production are also taken from a master drum. It is long-term stable and resistant to aging. As a result, the automobile manufacturers can rely on the fact that they will always receive the same grain in the same quality; and not only during the lifecycle of the model, but even 10 or 15 years later for spare parts business.
Additionally, Continental can perform all relevant material tests in its own facility. For example, the laboratories for surface materials in Hanover and Eislingen are certified in accordance with DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025. This guarantees that they provide the same testing competence and impartiality as external laboratories. The high level of testing competence makes it possible to offer solutions with which vehicle manufacturers can react to changes in the laws and higher customer expectations with regard to emissions in the vehicle interior, for example.
Bundled design and material competence
“With the aid of our design and service solutions, optimized soft touch interior surfaces can be realized, which directly appeal to the emotions of the customers, underscore the essence of a vehicle brand, strengthen its competitiveness, and promote ecological sustainability,” explains Ralf Imbery, Director of Design, Digitalization, Innovation Management. “This results in specific solutions, which offer the manufacturers the greatest possible additional benefit, with which they can target the wishes and needs of the automobile buyer in the respective market segment. This is also proven by our concept vehicles, which bundle our overall design and material competence and make it possible to experience the future today.”