Many upheavals are currently taking place in the automotive market. Energy-saving drives, CO2 emission limits and electromobility are causing development surges just as much as assistance systems, driver status recognition, vehicle networking, rising comfort requirements and an increase in model diversity. In addition, the increasing demands for durability, functionality and cost reduction challenge our innovative strength.
Interdisciplinary knowledge: This aptly describes the core competence of IGB Automotive. The diverse tasks in development and production at IGB can only be mastered by bundling knowledge from a wide range of disciplines. Electrical, mechanical and physical-chemical expertise is just as much in demand as knowledge in the production and processing of textiles, nonwovens and foams. IGB’s workforce of highly qualified engineers and technicians ensure that our products are of the highest standard in global competition. This also includes electrical specialists who develop hardware and software for microprocessor-based control units.
Research and Development
Introducing innovative new products is the goal of fundamental development at IGB Automotive. IGB makes use of cooperation with universities in scientific work and participation in research projects to strengthen our own resources. The results can be seen in a large number of patents and patent applications with which IGB secures and further extends its lead over the competition.
Product development process
After a phase of basic development, our products are always adapted to the specific project for the vehicle manufacturer and the intended vehicle platform. Adaptation development is carried out by interdisciplinary and globally active project teams. IGB Automotive works with an optimized project management process that guarantees compliance with development specifications and milestones. At the same time, this gives the project partners at the customer’s site the greatest possible flexibility.
The continuous development is coordinated from the headquarters in Gruendau, together with the development centers in North America and China. In this way, regional trends, requirements and special features are implemented quickly and efficiently.
The manufacturing processes implemented at IGB Automotive mostly use standardized production machines. Special machines are designed in-house and optimized for use at IGB. While satisfying all customer requirements and quality targets, production is accomplished with minimum lead time and resources.
The most important manufacturing processes are:
- Production of electrically heated surface elements
- Screen printing
- Shaping through contour die-cutting
- Cable harness production
- Automatic testing with electrical and optical inspection
In addition, many special processes are necessary to meet the individual requirements of the product.
I.G.Bauerhin has established stitching technology as an extremely efficient method of producing surface elements. This involves stitching the heating conductor on a carrier material. The production machines are fully automated, software-controlled and produce several heating elements in parallel. Stitching technique is especially suitable for thin surface elements with a single-layer structure.
Carbotherm® refers to surface heater elements that use electrical conductivity of carbon fibers. The heating area made of carbon fibers is produced in a knitting process. The power supply is provided by two electrodes, each of which is located on the edge of the surface element. Carbotherm heating elements are particularly suitable for installation directly under the seat cover fabric. This allows for the shortest possible heating times to be achieved.
For multi-layer heating elements, the routing technique has proven itself for many years. The heating wire is laid along a contour tool and then fixed by laminating the top layer. With the help of modern control and drive components, IGB Automotive has succeeded in automating the entire process. Automatic routing machines produce complete heating elements, which are simply finished by final contour die-cutting and soldering of the cable harness.