At the beginning of July 2015, the Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE) once again premiered the most creative and innovative solutions for automotive construction and communication media, celebrating the 16th Award Night in Neuss, Düsseldorf. The jury awarded the grand prize in the Electronical/Optical Parts category to the visually appealing Mercedes touchpad, which is equipped with an extremely scratch resistant surface made with CoverForm®.
This makes automotive suppliers Continental and Daimler the first users to integrate CoverForm® into mass car production together with Evonik and machine manufacturer KraussMaffei. The decision to use this technology developed by Evonik and KraussMaffei came about from the requirements that manufacturers and customers place on the touchpad: It had to be possible to manufacture the three-dimensional component using injection molding, and the surface of the part must not show any scratches or chemically-induced changes, even after intensive use.
The path to achieving this goal was full of technical challenges, but the hard work paid off after the technology won the 2015 SPE Grand Award.
Continental manufactures the touchpad at its Babenhausen site for the C, S, V and GT classes in the Mercedes model range. The company uses the CoverForm® process, in which the part is coated with a highly crosslinked, scratch-resistant acrylate layer during the injection molding process. Surfaces produced in this way are extremely scratch and chemical resistant.
A production volume of more than a million faceplates is expected to be reached as early as 2016.