The narrow front and rear lights, which were developed by ZKW in Wieselburg, are very unusual. At the front, the dark, high-resolution LED headlamps blend harmoniously into the front of the BMW XM. At the rear of the powerful SUV, BMW relies on all-round, narrow full LED lamps with separate controls. "Alongside the BMW X7, the BMW XM is the first rear lamp project with the BMW Group. We are proud to be able to incorporate our innovative lighting solutions into these premium models," says Dr. Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.

This unique project presented ZKW's engineers with major challenges. Due to the low height of the headlamp, a special light guide concept had to be developed. "The development of the headlamp presented the BMW design team and ZKW with a particular challenge. It had to be as narrow as possible in order to emphasize the unique design of the vehicle," explains Wolfgang Zeidlhofer, project manager at ZKW. ZKW developed a split front light with two high-resolution LED modules that integrate headlamps with low beam and high beam as well as daytime running lamps with LED light guides for position lights, direction indicators and sidemarkers (for the US version).

Highest standards in design and production

When developing the front and rear lamps for the BMW XM, not only was technical perfection required in very small installation spaces, but also maximum dimensional accuracy and small gaps. The adjustment system for the components in the rear lamps is unique, allowing a particularly small gap to be achieved between the different light functions. However, the small installation space in the bumper for the headlamps also presented the ZKW development team in Wieselburg with a major challenge, which was successfully overcome with a space-saving design. The headlamps of the BMW XM are produced in various international ZKW plants.

ZKW Supplies Premium Headlamps and Rear Lamps for the BMW XM
The lighting systems specialist ZKW is delighted to have received another prestigious award. On February 28, the Wieselburg-based company was presented with the “Lighting Star Award” for “Best front lighting design” by the industry association DVN (Driving Vision News) in Munich. The award recognizes the innovative front lighting design that ZKW developed for the animated “Thorhammer” LED headlights of the Volvo EX90. When switching to high beam, the daytime running lights split upwards and downwards to reveal the main headlights. “We are particularly pleased about the award, which rewards the elaborate development of this unique, brand-typical front lighting,” explains Dr. Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.

As a community of industry experts, DVN organizes regular workshops and serves as a platform for its members from the automotive industry to exchange information. The DVN Award Ceremony, at which the ZKW was honored, was the highlight of the first DVN Workshop 2024. Among the numerous specialist presentations, Udo Hornfeck, CTO of the ZKW Group, spoke about “Design and lighting in the Volvo EX90”. At the CEO Talk on the topic of “The changing automotive industry”, ZKW CEO Wilhelm Steger discussed strategies for the future, sustainability, software-defined vehicles, artificial intelligence and much more with renowned representatives from other automotive suppliers. Gerald Böhm, GSM Advanced Technology and Technology Relationship Management ZKW Group, provided exciting insights into the future of vehicle lighting in his presentation on “Display – technical possibilities and outlook”.

Excellent lighting design

For the award-winning headlights of the Volvo EX90, ZKW uses a digital segment light module that combines matrix high beam and low beam. The system combines daytime running light, position light and indicator light in the particularly compact form of the striking “Thorhammer” design. The innovative kinematics enable the daytime running lights to “wink”: when the vehicle is unlocked, the individual headlamp elements flash one after the other before opening up and releasing the high beam with a blinking effect. The smart headlamp was developed at the ZKW site in Wieselburg and is manufactured at ZKW in Silao/Mexico and Dalian/China. “Our development department was able to meet the brand’s high design standards with a great deal of commitment,” says Dr. Steger.

About DVN Lighting

DVN Lighting is a community of industry experts who regularly exchange ideas. The aim is to consolidate and analyze information in order to support DVN Lighting members. “DrivingVisionNews” is the trade magazine for all aspects of vehicle lighting, vision and driver assistance. The DVN in Munich was very popular with 450 visitors, 100 companies, 30 exhibitors and more than 25 OEMs.

ZKW Honored With DVN Lighting Star Award
At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place from January 9-13 in Las Vegas, ZKW and LG will be showcasing their innovations in the areas of intelligent vehicle lighting and infotainment. The highlight is the LG concept car, which is equipped with high-resolution microZ-LED headlights from ZKW. This should make cinema-like "drive-in theater" projections possible in the future. ZKW will also be presenting the latest innovations such as the intelligent "Illuminated Panel" and an illuminated bumper (together with Rehau), animated rear lights, sustainable headlights as well as the new headlight for the Volvo EX90 with the moving "Thorhammer" and GM Chevy Silverado headlights for the important American vehicle market. "With our locations in Silao/Mexico and Troy/Michigan, we offer customers in the USMCA economic area innovative lighting systems that can interact with other road users and increase driving safety," explains Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.

In the CES Public Area, the LG Concept Car offers visitors an insight into the future of automotive entertainment. The ZKW microZ headlight modules integrated into the front of the show car demonstrate how animated projections can be created in the future using intelligent front lighting. The projector function of the headlights generates a 100-inch image that can be used to display a wide range of entertainment content based on OTT communication via the Internet (e.g. Netflix), transforming the car into a mobile cinema experience. "With the 'Digital Lighting Experience' vision and strategy, we are taking our portfolio to a new level together with LG," explains Steger.

Intelligent vehicle front & illuminated front panels
ZKW will also be showcasing its latest product innovations in the CES Private Area. Highlights include the illuminated multi-colored front grille "Panel" and, for the first time, an illuminated bumper "Bumper", which were developed in cooperation with REHAU Automotive. ZKW will use demonstrators to show how modern lighting, electronics and sensor systems can be integrated into vehicle fronts. The concept can be used, for example, to redesign the front of electric vehicles that no longer require a radiator as a smart design object with lighting, logo, sensor and heating functions. In the future, intelligent vehicle fronts and other series products are to be developed that interact with other road users and can thus increase road safety.

Smart lighting systems
ZKW's latest innovations include the high-tech headlights of the Volvo EX90. They are based on digital HD LED modules with a resolution of over 1.3 million pixels, which dynamically adapt the light to the traffic situation and precisely block out other road users. As a unique feature, the premium headlights can swivel the daytime running lights up and down in the typical Volvo hammer shape, thus revealing the main light modules - a design innovation that also helps to save installation space. As a new development, ZKW, in cooperation with OSRAM, is presenting innovative rear light modules in which transparent LEDs are laminated onto a transparent carrier substrate. The result is an animated surface that can display tail lights, indicators, brake lights and illuminated logos. The new headlamp of the GM Chevy Silverado, which enables an illuminated animation of the charge indicator, will also be on display at CES.

Sustainable production
ZKW aims to make its global production CO2-neutral by 2025 and all products by 2038. This goal is to be achieved by saving energy, avoiding waste and switching to green electricity. At CES, the lighting systems specialist will be demonstrating how sustainable lighting can be achieved through optimized materials and processes. As part of the "SusMat4CarLight" project, ZKW is working with partners to research recyclable materials for future lighting systems, including polymers based on renewable raw materials. "Our sustainability strategy makes it possible to reduce CO2 emissions from production and products by 60 percent. The aim is to develop and produce more efficiently and sustainably. Sustainable management is a key concern for both the ZKW Group and its customers," says Steger.
WIESELBURG, Austria, Oct. 5, 2023 -- The Wieselburg-based automotive lighting specialist equips the brand new Volvo EX90 electric SUV with high-quality LED headlights in unique design. The basis are digital HD light modules with over 1.3 million pixel resolution, which create a precisely controllable light image on the road. The high-tech light adapts dynamically to the traffic and precisely blends out other road users. The system thus contributes to high safety for drivers, passers-by and animals. As a unique feature, the high-quality LED headlights can wink the daytime running lights shine in the hammer-shaped design typical of this Swedish brand. When switched to high beam, the daytime running light splits up and down to reveal the main headlamp. "The unique front lighting, which is distinctive for the brand, combines exceptional design with innovative lighting technology that actively contributes to high road safety," explains Dr Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.

The new SUV's headlights are an evolution of the distinctive headlight design that the brand first introduced on the second-generation XC90 in 2015. The LED light elements of the daytime running lights form the hammer-shaped design, with the head divided into six light segments, while the stem is formed by ten other elements. If you switch to main light, the hammer splits horizontally and the main headlight becomes visible. The movement not only serves to switch from daytime running light to main light, but also underscores the vehicle's start sequence with a "wink" of the headlights. "This animated light function is unique and only available from this manufacturer," explains Dr Steger.

High-resolution LED pixel light
As the basis for the headlamp, ZKW uses a "Segment Light" light module that combines matrix high beam and low beam. The signal light system combines daytime running light, position light and indicator light in the particularly compact form of the striking design. The daytime running light, which is movable thanks to the innovative kinematics, gives the brand new SUV a unique appearance. When the vehicle is unlocked, the individual headlight elements flash one after the other before flipping open to reveal the high beam with a flashing effect. The smart headlight was developed at the ZKW site in Wieselburg, and is manufactured at ZKW in Silao/Mexico and Dalian/China. "By using recycled plastic granulates and aluminum made from 40 percent recycled raw materials, we are also making a major contribution to sustainability," says Dr Steger.

High demands on design
Various requirements had to be taken into account in the development of the high-tech headlamp. On the one hand, the system had to withstand at least 500,000 opening and closing cycles under all environmental influences. Furthermore, the horizontal part of the daytime running light must have reached its end position within 500 milliseconds in order to release the main light functions. In addition, a low weight of the moving parts was required with simultaneous homogeneity of the daytime running light. "Our development department was able to meet the brands high design demands with a lot of commitment," says Dr Steger.

About ZKW
The ZKW Group is the specialist for innovative premium lighting systems and electronics. As a system supplier, ZKW is a global partner to the automotive industry. The group develops and produces products based on our motto of "Bright Minds, Bright Lights," combining bright minds with modern production technologies to produce complex premium lighting and electronic modules for international automotive manufacturers.

Our top products include powerful and cost-efficient complete LED systems. The ZKW Group has a total of twelve locations worldwide, with intelligently networked development and production. In 2022, the Group employed around 10,000 workers and generated total revenues of 1.4 billion euros.

In accordance with the corporate vision "Ground-breaking premium lighting and electronic systems from ZKW for all mobility concepts of the global automotive industry", the company's primary goal is to produce top-quality high-tech products and to promote the development of innovative holistic lighting systems.
With our discoveries and inventions, the ZKW corporate group makes vehicles more desirable, more unique, safer, and more energy efficient.

Our 360 degree product portfolio includes headlamps and fog lamps, rear lamps, flashers, interior and license plate lamps as well as electronic modules. Major automotive manufacturers trust their brands to innovative products from ZKW. We are proud of our customers like BMW (BMW, Rolls Royce), DAIMLER (MERCEDES-BENZ Cars and Trucks), FORD (Lincoln, Ford), GEELY (Volvo, Polestar, Lynk & Co, Geely), GENERAL MOTORS (Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac), Hyundai/Kia, JLR (Jaguar, Land Rover), Stellantis (Opel, Citroen), RENAULT/NISSAN (Infiniti, Alpine), VGTT (Volvo Trucks, MACK) and VW (Porsche, Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, Skoda, Seat/Cupra, VW, VW Commercial Vehicles, MAN, Scania).

With intelligent lighting systems and innovative styling, ZKW is shaping the look and character of vehicles worldwide.
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