3-D Thermal Prediction Offers Alternative to Costly Prototyping

GE Plastics Automotive has introduced a new proprietary technology, Three-Dimensional (3-D) Thermal Prediction, for automotive lighting. This computational tool is expected to provide GE Plastics’ automotive customers with significantly greater precision and speed, as well as the option to significantly reduce or even eliminate the need for costly prototype tooling and testing.

3-D Thermal Prediction, co-developed by GE Plastics Automotive in Southfield, Mich., and GE Corporate Research & Development in Schenectady, N.Y., is a blend of proprietary software and stringent technical processes that allows GE Plastics engineers to evaluate very early in the application development process the expected thermal performance and stamina of high-heat lighting components, which typically must withstand extreme temperatures of up to 400 degrees.

Through the creation of math-based models and proprietary predictive algorithms, GE Plastics can more accurately predict headlamp temperatures, any distortion that occurs in the high-heat headlamp environment and the component dimensions that are expected to apply at normal operating conditions.

The most significant advantage of 3-D Thermal Prediction is that customers have the ability to predict the temperatures within a new headlamp design, often without having to invest in prototype tooling and validation testing to reach the same conclusion. Early in the development process, GE Plastics delivers precise data to lighting manufacturers on temperatures, distortion, and performance, and can suggest materials for the final assembly.

GE Plastics has already successfully completed three 3-D Thermal Prediction programs for U.S. automakers. The 3-D Thermal Prediction process presently takes about eight weeks to complete and GE Plastics is working to reduce completion time to three weeks.

More information can also be accessed through the GE Plastics Internet site at www.geplastics.com/automotive