“We want to be right at the forefront”
At this year’s IAA Mobility conference, InnovationLab GmbH has snagged a prime spot, nestled among many renowned exhibitors, at booth C34 in hall A2. To clarify a few points leading up to this international event, Dr. Janusz Schinke, Director Projects & Products, delves into a few essential questions. The 38-year-old has been working at iL since 2015 and therefore knows the self-described “problem solver” company inside out.
The IAA is one of the world’s largest automotive trade shows. How excited is InnovationLab about attending?
Dr. Janusz Schinke: As with every trade fair, there’s a great deal of excitement here. Everyone at iL is excited to showcase our products and technology. We’re obviously eager to check out the other booths as well, since we’re all tech enthusiasts. The IAA Mobility is particularly special for us due to the types of products we offer – the event attracts exactly the target groups that we’re hoping to introduce to our products. As a leading company in the field of printed electronics, we see the IAA as a fantastic opportunity to showcase our innovations and technologies to a broader audience.
What’s so special about the IAA Mobility, as it has been called since it started being held in Munich's exhibition center in 2021?
Schinke: IAA Mobility goes beyond the traditional automotive industry conference. It shines a spotlight on the mobility of the future and provides a platform for discussing pioneering technologies and trends in the automotive sector. The fact that it’s being held at the Munich exhibition center makes it even more exciting for us. This has been our home base for showcasing the ways in which InnovationLab has evolved, as we have attended LOPEC there each year since our company has existed. At this point, iL is an integral part of LOPEC. So our next goal is to make a similar name for ourselves at IAA Mobility. We’re going to give it our all over the next few years.
Electric vehicles are defined by their batteries
That speaks right to four of iL’s core topics (BaMoS, printed heaters, pressure sensors and flexPCBs). For anyone who isn’t deeply versed in the electronics industry, could you briefly explain the relevance and benefits of the technology behind those topics?
Schinke: To put it simply, BaMoS, printed heaters, pressure sensors and flexPCBs all play significant roles in the electronics industry. BaMoS as a battery monitoring solution is extremely relevant to electric vehicles, since batteries are basically the heart of these vehicles, and we can keep these hearts beating longer. Printed heaters offer an energy-efficient method of climate control – in every part of the car, actually. Pressure sensors make it possible to connect integrated seat sensors and other safety features as part of an overarching “car system.” There’s also the possibility to implement other comfort-related functions, such as automated settings for the optimal seat position. What sets our flexPCBs apart is their sustainable production. Overall, our focus is always on sustainable technology – particularly when you look at the differences to silicon-based electronics.
BaMoS is a battery monitoring solution. Why should battery and automotive manufacturers pay more attention to this topic?
Schinke: It offers a new way to monitor and analyze batteries: how they behave over time under extreme conditions during the charging and discharge cycles. Millions of datasets can be generated from these cycles in a day, and we can use that data to demonstrate how to improve battery life as well as boost safety and efficiency. Some leading battery and automotive manufacturers are already using BaMoS.
Constructive feedback from our customers
iL began work on this product in 2017. How did that come about? And can we expect that this entire solution will be technologically sound in the near future?
Schinke: We arrived at the product by way of a specific customer inquiry and a joint project. At first, it was just one of the many developments that we were offering our customers in the field of pressure sensor technology. We very quickly realized, however, that our technology had a lot more to offer, and we have spent years developing the BaMoS product. The product is absolutely already technologically sound in its current state. Still, our solution is constantly undergoing further developments to meet technological requirements. Our customers’ constructive feedback informs a lot of those adjustments. Ideally, future iterations of BaMoS will make their way into series products of automotive and automobile manufacturers.
Why are printed heaters, which iL will present at the IAA, more energy efficient than products from market competitors?
Schinke: I wouldn't necessarily say that the heaters are more energy efficient than our competitors’ products. But the benefit of our technology is that it is very flexible in its implementation and can be combined with other technologies. This two-in-one solution is ultimately quite valuable for our customers, such as the well-known family-owned company Marquardt.
Suitable processes and materials
What role does the company's experience with printed electronics and sensor technology play here?
Schinke: It’s a huge help! Drawing on our years of experience in printed electronics and sensor technology, we can very quickly select the appropriate processes and materials, adapt them to specific needs, and then implement them in the various printed heating elements. This translates into expanded product features, which in turn benefits the customer.
Pressure sensors can be effortlessly integrated into car seats. Is it safe to say that surfaces and foils made of sensors act like a living second skin?
Schinke: Yes, exactly – they make it possible to measure pressure and temperature on any object. As with human skin, it can then pick up on any change.
Shaping the future of mobility
This time, iL is right in the thick of it at the IAA Mobility. A prime location, then?
Schinke: Our presence at our booth C34 in Hall A2 of the IAA Mobility, alongside the likes of Tesla, BMW, Valeo and CATL, is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our products to a high-profile audience. We might even be able to gain some greater visibility overall. In particular, there’s an opportunity to talk more directly and at length with the other exhibitors. Proximity is always a plus.
There are nine of you from iL heading to the Munich exhibition center. What are the team’s hopes and realistic expectations for their time there?
Schinke: We’re just excited to share our knowledge, to meet some new people and to contribute to advancing the mobility industry. We want to use our technologies to develop innovative solutions for our customers and offer products. In doing so, we’re all helping to shape the future of mobility. That’s a constant source of motivation for our tech-savvy team. We want to be right at the forefront.
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