Crystal Design Luxury at CES 2022: Automotive HMI panel from LEONHARD KURZ with functional crystals from Swarovski
Fürth/Germany, January 4, 2022: It’s almost time: CES will be held in Las Vegas from January 5 to 8, 2022. More than 1,700 leading international companies will be presenting their new products at the technology trade fair - including LEONHARD KURZ, the expert in pioneering plastic surface solutions. At stand 4567, the company will showcase what the future of mobility will look like. Autonomous driving and e-mobility pose complex challenges for the automotive industry. The interior of the car is increasingly becoming a second living room, and design is therefore rapidly gaining in importance. KURZ has already begun to develop solutions that serve this megatrend. In doing so, it is important to develop well-thought-out products and holistic concepts that, on the one hand, inspire with unique designs and, on the other hand, contribute to the circular economy.
Crystal Design Luxury: Shiny design and smart technology in cooperation with Swarovski
A special highlight of the KURZ trade fair presentation is the Human-Machine Interface panel (HMI panel) for the cockpit, which was developed in cooperation with Swarovski and KURZ subsidiaries Burg Design and PolyIC. Various demonstration devices will be presented at CES for the first time, all of which are refined with color-matching crystals from Swarovski. The solid, scratch-resistant full-cut crystals are handmade in Austria and impress with their brilliance as well as their precise cut with depth effect and multi-reflections. But the actual groundbreaking innovation is only revealed at second glance: The sparkling crystals are not just a feast for the eyes! They are treated in advance so that they can be touch-operated thanks to the integrated smart sensor technology from KURZ subsidiary PolyIC. “The HMI panel in a day-night design reveals its secrets only after a closer look and never fails to create wow effects. We have developed a concept that not only meets, but even exceeds future requirements. The combination of gravure and silk-screen printing enables top-class surface designs, for example for metallization or real-carbon looks,” explains Jörg Stierand, Head of Divisional Sales Management Automotive at KURZ.
Visual variations for every taste
KURZ uses the HMI concepts to demonstrate the variety of available design options in three versions. The ‘Lounge’ mode is characterized by its luxurious design in a subtle brown with shimmering gold effects. The backlighting creates a fascinating play of colors. Certain areas in the middle of the golden surface light up in rich magenta, fiery orange, or warm violet tones. The light and color designs can be changed using the touch control function integrated into the decor.
The ‘Dark’ mode stands out with its sporty design and crystals in a smoked glass look. A classic black adorns the surface of the component. Backlighting effects conjure up special effects with atmospheric color highlights - for example, in bold red or fresh green. The glossy Swarovski crystals stand out against the dark background.
The ‘Light’ mode, on the other hand, impresses with cool elegance in bright shades. The surface of the demonstration device boasts geometric patterns, which can also be highlighted with different light designs. In this way, the play with the color effects can create very different moods inside the car.
Functional crystals as a future trend
All versions of the innovative HMI panel have one thing in common and that’s the elegant crystals from Swarovski, which appear to be mirrored at first glance. Thanks to the Shy Tech functionality, the integrated icons only become visible and reveal the stored functions when they are approached. “We are very pleased about our partnership with KURZ and that we are collaborating on such pioneering projects,” emphasizes Peter Widmann, Senior Vice President & Managing Director at Swarovski Mobility. “In the coming years, the boundaries between design and functionality will become increasingly fluid. Our precision-cut crystals are not only attractive, decorative elements but can also be integrated as functional components. In this way, we are already setting the course today for the successful implementation of the automotive trends of tomorrow.”
Ultra-thin sensors for maximum functionality
As the Swarovski crystals are specially treated, the smooth operation of the underlying touch sensors is ensured despite the impressive dimensions of the crystals. PolyIC’s capacitive sensors are ideal for implementing the trends of tomorrow - such as homogeneous, elegant surfaces that only come to life upon approach or touch. Both the substrate and the sensors themselves are characterized by their high transparency. At the same time, the sensors consisting of wafer-thin metal-mesh silver structures are particularly robust and can be flexibly adapted to a wide range of component geometries. Two touch sensors are integrated into this panel. One operates the functions of the crystals via direct touch functionality and also serves as a proximity switch. Another slider operates the ambient lighting of the panel.
Maximum design freedom and high flexibility
The unique design is made possible by the Print Mold Design (PMD) process from Burg Design. Thanks to the innovative technology, three-dimensional decors can be created with maximum design freedom thanks to special injection molding - in fact, almost any component shape can be implemented! In addition, components manufactured using PMD can be provided with extraordinary backlighting effects, as impressively shown by the HMI demonstration designs from KURZ. Last but not least, the process enables a high degree of flexibility in series production with different designs.
More sustainability without compromising on design
The PMD-decorated components not only impress with their extraordinary appearance but also with the Design for Recycling focus by KURZ. This includes the use of recycled materials, which can be designed to be as high-quality and appealing as new material using KURZ decorations. In addition, the finishing of the plastic parts has no influence on the recyclability of the components, as they can be recycled together with them. However, sustainability is also taken into account by the fact that some of the KURZ decoration materials are already made from around 30 percent organic raw materials - and the company is working to further increase this share. Last but not least, the indium metallization used in the HMI panels is a sustainable solution that KURZ already successfully uses in place of environmentally harmful chrome galvanization.
Online presence for CES 2022
LEONHARD KURZ is also using its trade fair presence in Las Vegas to showcase a comprehensive online presentation of the company’s innovations and exhibition highlights. Visit www.ces.plastic-decoration.com for detailed information and extras such as videos or 3D animations on CES products and topics.
At a glance
CES 2022 from January 5 to 8, 2022
LEONHARD KURZ Stiftung & Co. KG: Stand 4567
Our trade fair presentation focuses on automotive interior, consumer electronics, sustainability