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Infra-red heating in the auto industry

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MOTOR vehicles need fast, precise and accessible heat for many different processing operations during their manufacture. Infra-red emitters from Heraeus can carry out these heating operations efficiently and matched to the product and process.

Infra-red emitters dry the paint on bodywork, but that is only one of the countless applications of infra-red heat in the manufacture of motor vehicles.

From the forming of internal cladding components to the welding of windscreen washer fluid containers, there is scarcely a component, which does not come into contact with infra-red radiation at least once on the long path from single part to finished car.

Consequently it is important to choose the right emitter, optimally matched to the absorption characteristics of the material and matched to the product and process in terms of power, length and shape.

Classic infra-red emitters from Heraeus can be built in lengths up to 6.5m suitable for all conventional component conveyor widths. Complicated work pieces are heated with emitters, which are arranged three dimensionally or are profiled to the required shape.

Classical straight, medium wave or short wave infra-red emitters can be used to heat foil strips before an embossing roller is applied to produce a grainy surface or some other surface effect. Embossed plastics are often used as internal cladding in cars.

Carbon medium wave infra-red emitters, with very fast response times, are used to activate adhesives on surfaces such as sun visors. The emitters are controlled by temperature sensors and are switched on for only as long as heat is required.

Contour-matched short wave emitters activate adhesive on the edges of internal cladding parts before these are bent into position.

Particularly small infra-red emitters can be arranged three dimensionally to correspond with complicated surfaces. In this way, for example, roof linings and parcel shelfs can be homogeneously heated to allow fabric to be laminated.

Door cladding, dashboards and other internal components are riveted to the substructure. To do this, plastic pins are heated and pressed onto a counter piece on the sub structure by means of a stamp. Specially shaped infra-red emitters, of ring or spiral-shape, allow the targeted heating of the smallest plastic pins, without heating the complete car door, quickly, without contact and without noise.

Liquid containers, whether for windscreen washer fluid or brake fluid, and filter and lamp housings are generally made in two halves that are joined together. Straight or contoured, short wave infra-red emitters melt the edges of the individual plastic components in seconds, without contact. By then pressing them together, a complete welded container is produced.

The A-B-C-D columns of motor vehicles are often set up in such a way that a carpet is laid in a steel mould and the carpet back sprayed with plastic. The fabric surface on the visible front side of the carpet is affected by heat and pressure during this process and must be restored. Conventional methods use steam and brushes but infra-red can regenerate the surface without contact.

Heraeus offers a complete range of standard and custom-built emitters, designed to provide optimum results in terms of the product and process, not just for the automotive sector but also for heating operations throughout industry.

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