KIEFEL GmbH, Freilassing is a pioneer in vacuum lamination technology. It initiated development of a totally new vacuum lamination method known as the tailored blank lamination process. This step was taken some three years back with the purpose of fulfilling the high-quality essentials of OEMs for growing pronounced three-dimensional components with the aforementioned technology. An added advantage of this process is that it saves millions in film costs over the vehicle production period.
The company has not only achieved this milestone of the new laminating process i.e. Tailored Blank Laminating but has also led to successful implementation of its highly automated laminating machine. The snapshot of the process flow can be summarized as follows: A stack of film blanks, so-called tailored blanks, is positioned in a hopper for automated picking in the machine.
A robot, which is part of the actual vacuum laminating station, picks up the injection-molded carrier parts from a defined point, for example from a paternoster. Individual servomotor-driven axle systems, which can be moved freely in three dimensions, position the decorative material on the carrier part without stretching. This is followed by the laminating process. In the next step, the robot precisely places the components in the next processing machine, such as the edging machine.
All this results in a complete processing line. The input material carrier part and decorative trim at the beginning of the line is transformed into finished laminated and edge-folded component – without a human operator. This is another aspect of the new TBL vacuum laminating technology, which significantly reduces the cost per unit of the interior components.
Kiefel’s TBL technology has led to the production of the highest quality vacuum lamination components while minimizing film consumption. Film draw-off levels within the bracket of 10% across the entire surface of the component with uninterrupted soft-touch is now achievable. The tight radiuses and a sharp edge are currently so popular with designers and can be easily implemented. Precision film positioning via TBL technology permits a radius of 1mm at the injection molded carrier part while maintaining the soft-touch of the foam film simultaneously.
If we take a glance at the customer benefits of this TBL technology, there are multiple benefits of the same like: optimal product quality, film draw-off level max. 10%, reduced component costs due to up to 40% lower film consumption, high degree of automation, unmanned operation, servo gripper operation with mobile end device, automation of downstream processes such as edge-folding integrated, simple commissioning and program optimization, outstanding freedom of design thank to tight radiuses and sharp edges of components being possible.