It is really exciting to follow the rapid developments of High Definition headlights in the automotive lighting industry. Carmakers are seeking new ways to distinguish themselves and embrace the application of high-resolution light modules in their headlights: for communication, comfort and safety.

HD headlamps | Automotive

High Definition headlights add serious value to the carmaker, Tier 1 and car owner

Making projections on the street is of great assistance to the driver, as well as contributes to V2X communication. Tier 1’s love it because it adds serious value to their products. An important side effect is the reduction of the logistical efforts because HD headlamps can be equipped with dedicated software (for different global markets, the variety of different products like lift, right as well as legislation variations, will be drastically reduced).

Back to the Carmakers: dedicated software is a great opportunity for personalization of the car, and has the potential to even open a new business model: the car owner can buy personalised software like projection on his name, or dynamic follow me home illumination.

Two parallel developments in new generation light modules

Two main streams are on top in HD projection: microLED and DMD. MicroLED is based on thousands of individually programmable LED’s, produced by e.g. Lumileds, Nichia, Osram. The Digital Micro-mirror Device (DMD) is based on up to 1.3 million (!) individually aimable micro-mirrors; basis is the Digital Light Processing Technology from Texas Instruments.

Production easier said than done
So we’re  talking about where the light comes from. But then: how to get a detailed pattern of light beams on the road exactly where you want it to be? On one hand you need a set of high-quality projection lenses. On the other hand, you have to make sure that lenses and light source are extremely precisely assembled to each other. A slight deviation will ruin the outcome of your expensive light source and projection lenses!

Assembly station

Disruptive technology needed for HD light module production

Until recent, assembly of light modules often was based on straight forward assembly. No high-accuracy assembly was needed as tolerances were in the 0.1 mm range. For HD light modules however, a complete new way of assembly is necessary in order to have the optimal results (so pixels on the road were you want them to be). This new way is called Active Aligning, which allows fast assembly even with accuracies well below 5 micrometer (0.005 mm).

Active Aligning
In short, it means manoeuvring the lens-set in the (still liquid) glue, until you’ve have reached the optimal projected image. During the manoeuvring of the lens package, the light source is switched on, and at the same time the projection is automatically analysed with high resolution cameras. In a number of steps (micro accurate movements of the lens-set to the light source or vice versa), the optimal image quality is determined. Once this is found, the glue cured (mostly by high speed UV curing). The result is an optimized light module which will keep its accuracy over its entire lifetime.

Editorial note:

IMS is located in Almelo, the Netherlands and is a Gold Member of DVN. IMS designs and builds assembly machines for extreme precise products like camera’s for mobile phones, sensors for automotive applications and actuators. IMS is an important player in automated assembly lines for light modules for headlamps, and builds assembly machines e.g. Matrix light Modules, microLED modules and DMD based modules. 

“We are happy to have IMS in our DVN family”, says Hector Fratty, DVN President. “Hans Velten and I meet frequently on our DVN sessions to talk about the newest developments. The success of the new generation High Definition light modules strongly depends on the technology which is needed in the production plants of our Tier 1 members. For DVN, it is impressive to see how IMS opens the way to this new assembly technology to make reliable HD headlights production possible”. Both IMS and DVN are member of EPIC.

Interested to know more about how our automated assembly lines can help your company?

Get in touch!
IMS is your partner in enhancing your production capabilities. Do you want to know more about production automation or do you have a specific automation challenge for your innovative product? We are happy to assist you further!

Hans Velten
Business Development

Sales manager Hans Velten | IMS-nl.com

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