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Bavarian innovation prize for Leonhard Kurz

Bavarian innovation prize for Leonhard Kurz

News 12.02.2021

Pioneering progress from Fürth: Thin-film expert Leonhard Kurz has been awarded the 3rd main prize of the Bavarian Innovation Prize for the 'IMD VARIOFORM® with Functional In-Mold Labeling (IML)' process. This technological solution bundles the four processes of thermoforming, decorating, integrating a sensor, and punching directly in the injection molding tool in a single processing phase. For the first time, this innovation allows touch sensors to be deformed in three dimensions, injected with plastic and integrated into geometrically sophisticated and decorated components.

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The exemplary concept component with slider function and backlighting shows the extensive design freedom made possible by 'IMD VARIOFORM® with Functional In-Mold Labeling'

Economy in harmony with design freedom and sustainability
The innovative, highly efficient process was developed for the production of plastic parts with extreme 3D geometry, for example, heavily bent, domed or curved shapes. Based on the proven in-mold decoration technology, Kurz was able to effectively combine the previously successive processes of decoration, single-image illumination and capacitive sensor integration into a 3D-shaped HMI component and combine them in a single manufacturing step. Sensors from the Kurz subsidiary PolyIC are used, which are 3D moldable due to their ultra-thin metal-mesh carrier structure and can be flexibly adapted to even the most challenging component shapes.

Thanks to the greatest possible design freedom, there are no limits to the creative process. Individual single-image and endless decorations are possible, as well as partial or large-scale backlighting. The advanced technology can also score points in terms of sustainability: Pure recyclates can be refined so that the end result is equal to new material in terms of aesthetics. The transfer coating and PolyIC sensors also do not limit the recyclability of components.

"Our innovation combines maximum efficiency with maximum design freedom and sustainability - even for small series", emphasizes Martin Hahn, Head of Application, Technology & Innovation Plastic Industries. "Thanks to 'IMD VARIOFORM', household appliances or consumer electronics, for example, can become smart design objects in the future."

Established award for Bavarian innovation drivers
In 2020, the Bavarian Innovation Prize was awarded for the fifth time by the Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, the Bavarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bavarian Chambers of Trades and Crafts Association. It honors outstanding innovation drivers of the Bavarian economy.

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