Very Long Lightguide Technology
Following the relatively recent, rapid increase in vehicle interior ambient styling lighting, a new emerging trend for automotive lighting is to accent vehicle exterior styling.
This has already been proposed for smaller areas, such as front grills, badges and air intake bezels, etc., but Polymer Optics Automotive Limited (POAL) has had requests for integrating illumination styling into much longer component paths, such as roof bars, running-boards and vehicle sill panels. POAL has further proposed that long lightguide systems of this kind can also be used on tail gate surrounds, and door aperture thresholds, as well as longer illumination paths for vehicle interiors.
To make these applications cost effective and robust, it is not sufficient to simple use strings of multiple LEDs, so POAL has developed a versatile, customisable, very long lightguide technology, to enable the assembly to be illuminated from both ends of the illuminated feature or even only one end. This approach greatly simplifies the mechanical demands on the system, enabling it to be engineered to be very robust, weather proof and flexible to follow the vehicle contours.
POAL has taken its well developed lightguiding techniques and further develop them to be able to make lightguide products of up to 2m length or greater. This has required POAL to develop new light control patterning techniques and in-house write new software routines to generate the light control patterns ready for the manufacturing processes.
Since the product assemblies are very long and of relatively small cross-section, the manufacturing routes lend themselves to precision optical extrusion, which reduces tooling costs and product manufacturing costs. This approach also enables a very flexible design opportunity for the outer format of the assembled product, so that integration to the target vehicle can be simplified. Also, the opto-mechanical configuration developed by POAL provides a wide range of candidate materials to be considered, so the chemical and mechanical robustness of the product can be tuned to the vehicle specifications and balanced against the final product cost.