Automotive Headlight on an EV Bus

Bonding MLAs in Automotive Headlights

Adhesive for Bonding MLAs in Automotive Headlights Exhibits Low Discoloration Under High Temperatures

Challenge

Bond Different Substrates of MLAs Together Quickly and Prevent Movement

A manufacturer was searching for an adhesive to bond Micro Lens Arrays (MLAs) to brackets that exhibited reliable performance and low discoloration in high-temperature environments found during automotive headlight operation. MLA headlights are connected to sensors with advanced technology that enable automatic adjustment of light intensity, angle, and on/off activation.

Since the assemblies were for MLA headlamps used in ADAS equipped vehicles, the company required a method to bond the different substrates of the components together quickly and provide good adhesion between them. The lenses also had to be secured in place for precise focusing and the material used needed to prevent their discoloration.

Proper alignment of the glass lenses to the metal brackets was important to ensure no movement occurred within the finished component. One small offset within the array could create unclear optics and throw off the functionality of the headlight completely, so lens alignment was critical. Low discoloration was also important at the high-temperature environments the lenses would need to operate under.

In addition, they were seeking a UV-only product rather than UV and heat solution.

Solution

Utilize an Adhesive that Could Withstand Varying Environmental Conditions and Maintain Optical Clarity

The Application Engineering team suggested its Dymax 3013-GEL general purpose UV/Visible light-curable adhesive for its ability to bond dissimilar substrates together and adhesion to withstand temperatures from 140℃ to -30℃. The product featured excellent moisture resistance to survive varying environments as well as blue fluorescence for post cure in-line quality control utilizing optical scanners for high-speed inspection. The adhesive’s lack of discoloration maintained the clear optics of the MLAs, an important attribute required in headlight applications.

With a nominal viscosity of 27,000 cP, the use of an auger valve and air pressure dispenser with large tip was proposed to ensure accurate, sufficient material dispense.

The team recommended using an LED spot at 365 nm wavelength to pre-cure the components, and an LED flood-curing system for full cure, enabling fast curing and maximum production speed for increased throughput.

Results

Expected Output of 48,000 Units Per Year and Greener Process

Dymax 3013-GEL not only exhibited good reliability and performance in challenging environments, but also showed very low discoloration during harsh thermal conditions. By utilizing light-curing technology and working in conjunction with the Dymax team, the manufacturer was able to start production on its MLA assemblies right away. The solvent-free nature of the adhesive and use of LED curing also enabled the customer to have a “greener” process by reducing hazardous materials and generating less waste. The expected throughput is estimated to be over 48,000 headlight modules per year.

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