Automotive: Automobile interior of the future
Modern cars offer ride comfort that allows passengers unprecedented freedom. A large number of assistance systems already enable semi-autonomous driving. Electrification reduces driving noise and eliminates the need for technical features, so that, the Kardantunnel that is not needed can, for example, be used for new applications. As such, the vehicle is becoming a mobile communication and entertainment platform or mobile office.
For many years now, the German-headquartered automotive supplier Schock Metal America, Inc. has been manufacturing pull-out systems for the furniture industry. This wealth of experience is increasingly being used by car manufacturers and their tier 1 suppliers to equip vehicles with attractive interior components. After all, today, ride comfort alone is no longer a decisive selling point. Instead, users want somewhere where they can store and charge their iPad, somewhere where they can communicate, play or work with each other while on the move, and somewhere where they conveniently store their daily consumer items such as glasses, purses, medicines, food, etc. To date, some storage compartments, e.g. the one under the roof, had to give way to sensors for autonomous driving. This is another reason why alternatives are urgently needed to provide the driver and passengers with the necessary convenience.
Here, the center console has turned out as an essential platform for user convenience. It no longer serves only as an armrest, but offers numerous other functions, from storage spaces and USB ports through to refrigerators for food or medicines. The requirements for pull-out technology are considerable. This is because they relate to moving systems that are constantly in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle occupants and as such, they have to not only be as quiet and invisible as possible, but also work securely and reliably. With its wide range of pull-out models, Schock Metal offers an ideal kit with which to meet all requirements with regard to functional safety, load capacity and the need for space. The "AIR MOTION" smooth running guides, which have been awarded the Interzum Award, prove to be particularly convenient. Because of their special product properties, they not only work in a way which is extremely smooth and quiet, they also offer significant advantages in electrified systems or components that work with external energy. For example, in the case of smooth running guides, the gas springs for a height-adjustable folding table are designed with extremely small dimensions, so that in turn, users are able to effortlessly operate the table with only a small amount of force. An improvement to the ergonomics and ultimately, quality of life is an essential corporate goal, which among other things, is reflected in the environmental policy of the EMAS-certified supplier.
As a co-engineering partner, Schock Metal also works on reducing the weight and variety of parts in every project. As Head of Marketing, Daniel Hoefer explains, "With our special rollforming technology, we are able to offer our customers added value which is often unexpected". This is because the roll forming machines used at the company's site work with extremely narrow tolerances as well as integrated punching and bending processes. As such, the profiles are already provided with the appropriate connection interfaces during forming, which make optimum use of the existing installation space during final assembly, thus saving weight and separate add-on parts. Using the same equipment, Schock Metal also manufactures roll-formed special profiles as structural parts as well as complete components as assemblies for the automotive industry.