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Case study: Decorative panel in the VW Tiguan

At a glance:
Development of a mould concept for film back injection for the production of a decorative panel in the VW Tiguan for the KDK Automotive company.

The customer:
KDK Automotive GmbH is a specialist in decoration and interior cladding in vehicles.

The Tiguan is a compact SUV from Volkswagen featuring five doors and five seats.

The task:
For the VW Tiguan, KDK Automotive produces a decorative panel on the passenger side above the glove compartment. The task of Hofmann – Ihr Impulsgeber was to develop a rugged serial-production mould with high availability for film back injection for this visually distinctive and challenging component.

This mould had to perfectly utilise the technology of in-mould decoration (IMD). Here, a type of endless film is drawn through the mould and plastic is then sprayed onto it. A decorative layer of the film is applied to the plastic, and a finished, refined component comes directly out of the machine.

The solution:
Film back injection poses special challenges to moulds. The film has to perfectly contact the mould surface, as even the slightest distortion would be visible as folds on the finished component. For the film to cling to the mould, Hofmann specialists rely on a so-called vacuum frame. This means that the film is already pre-shaped before it even touches the mould. This ensures that the film fits in the cavity better.

With IMD technology, it is also important that the mould not have any sharp edges which could damage the film. Hofmann is able to fall back on the experience of a host of different IMD moulds when designing the mould.

The mould from Hofmann – Ihr Impulsgeber enables KDK Automotive to produce a finished panel, including a visual decorative element, in just a single work step. By applying the film directly during injection moulding of the component, laborious post-processing (such as painting) is made unnecessary. Film back injection also gives the customer lots of design freedom and flexibility when selecting decorative elements. A total of two of these moulds for the decorative panel of the VW Tiguan were constructed for KDK Automotive.