Bayreuth University pioneers have won an award for innovation in steerable LED headlights: Remanufacturer of the Year Rolf Steinhilper explains how their efforts could point the way for those who want to develop new reman technologies
Remanufacturing is an exciting field of innovation – both on the product and process sides. With the introduction of new mechatronic and electronic components into our modern day passenger cars, there are also new opportunities to extend the product portfolio of those remanufacturers willing to face the challenge of developing the necessary technologies for their remanufacturing operations.
A recent example of this, where the creators have won a well-respected German annual award, for successful new development with industrial application in co-operation with academia, is the remanufacturing of steerable LED headlights. These headlight units are installed in their millions into our everyday cars. Their spare part prices, e.g. if one or two LEDs of their daylight ‘eyelash’ has faded out (and the car won´t pass its next roadworthy test) could reach from as much as €1,000 for a mid-size passenger vehicle up to €8,000 for an upmarket sports car … what an opportunity for remanufacturers!
Expert engineer and remanufacturing enthusiast Alexander Nagel from Bayreuth University in Germany and a fearless pioneer from a car servicing business, Thomas Demeter of Demeter Scheinwerferinstandsetzung, have risen to the new challenge and have developed technologies for opening failed headlights. This is achieved either by thermal softening of the glue used to fix the headlight lens – or by an oscillating ceramic shear to cut off ultrasonically-welded LED front screens.
Once the headlight has been opened, faulty LEDs and broken fixing devices can be replaced. Some parts that are not freely available on the open market can also be scanned - and 3D-printed parts that will be remanufactured are printed circuit boards and/or the mechatronic actuators for the movement of steerable beams. The complete remanufacturing process - which is available through www.scheinwerferreparatur-demeter.de - has won the 2016 Professor-Seifriz-Preis innovation award. This not only makes its inventors proud of their achievement, but will hopefully stimulate more members of the remanufacturing community to look out for new business opportunities in our industry.