Alps Alpine and Tactotek: In-mold electronics HMI solution for German automotive OEM

On 28 April 2020, TactoTek and Alps Alpine, a designer and manufacturer of electronic products, announced that they have collaborated to develop an IMSE human-machine interface (HMI) solution for a premium German automotive OEM. The Finland-based company TactoTek is a specialist for in-mold structural electronics (IMSE).

TactoTek and Alps Alpine collaborated to develop an IMSE HMI solution for a German automotive OEM (Source: TaktoTek)

In this project, Alps Alpine started the development with the industrial design and HMI of an existing serial production part of the premium German automotive OEM. TactoTek worked with Alps Alpine to transform their current design thinking into an IMSE electromechanical design and deliver an IMSE solution that meets demanding automotive cosmetic and functional requirements. TactoTek manufactured the resulting parts in their vertically integrated production facility in Oulu, Finland.

According to Hiroyuki Sato, Alps Alpine VP Automotive Module Business and Engineering: “For this use case TactoTek’s IMSE technology enabled our team to meet the OEM’s HMI requirements and satisfy several other objectives including light-weighting and space saving in a seamless single piece design. The results of the project have inspired our team to develop IMSE solutions for several other use cases in automotive and other markets.”

The resulting HMI parts with IMSE technology include printed electronics for circuitry, seven digital touch buttons and one slider as well as seven LEDs for backlighting controls, all of which are encapsulated within the 3D injection molded structure. Because IMSE technology is used, the finished part is only 2.5 mm thick, has a seamless cosmetic surface for appearance and easy cleaning and sterilization, and requires no manual assembly of in-mold electronics.

“Alps Alpine has deep understanding of automotive OEM requirements. They quickly identified how IMSE technology could support high value functional, styling and packaging objectives. Together we were able to deliver a solution that inspired the OEM and will lead to many more use cases,” said Sami Hyyryläinen, TactoTek Senior Vice President, Field Operations.