Kiekert is paving the way to „autonomous“ door systems
10/23/2017 Kiekert AG, Wixom Kiekert, the technology leader in automotive locking systems, is developing intelligent products for the future to support the "Autonomous Driving" trend, as well as other trends. With its "autonomous door" concept, Kiekert has taken a decisive step in this direction: a combination of the latest Kiekert technologies and innovations ─ the Kiekert E-Latch, Kiekert’s i-protect and i-move. In the future, these innovations will intelligently control access into vehicles, prevent unnecessary dents and scratches on vehicle doors, and help them to completely prevent injuries to pedestrians and other vehicles. Kiekert’s vision for car doors of the future is based on more than 100 years of research and development work. Celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, the German auto supplier has grown from a small local business to a global partner for the industry’s leading automakers.
In its 160-year history, Kiekert has developed and produced well over 1.9 billion latches for the international automotive industry and managed to provide innovative safety, comfort and efficiency solutions: starting with the mechanical latch up to the modern electric access E-Latch, and from micro actuators for locking and unlocking functions to the electrical comfort actuator for side doors -- i-move. The automotive supplier’s latest product solutions also include the electromagnetic brake system i-protect with dynamic environment recognition. Kiekert currently is combining these three technologies into the autonomous door, which raises access to the vehicle to a new level. With Kiekert’s vision of the autonomous door, entering a car becomes much more convenient: the E-Latch allows automatic opening of the vehicle door using a fingertip or even digital devices (e.g. smartphones). An important step towards the self-opening door is Kiekert’s i-move, which allows automatic opening and completes the closing process. The opening process of the door is completed with the Kiekert i-protect, a modernized sensor system for dynamic field recognition coupled with an innovative door brake system.
Kiekert’s E-Latch eliminates the need for door handles, reducing the weight and complexity of locking systems, while improving door design. Kiekert’s E-Latch allows use of the latest technologies, such as outdoor touch sensors or smartphones. Kiekert’s E-Latch has a modular full mechanical redundancy (TCR), which allows the latch to retain complete functionality, even in the event of a power failure.
The latest Kiekert i-protect prototype utilizes a modernized sensor system for environmental identification and an innovative door brake system to detect dynamic obstacles in the vicinity of the door. An innovative door brake system electromechanically stops the car door in front of the obstacle, if required, with an accuracy of one centimeter. Troubles when getting in and out of the car due to narrow parking spaces, garages, parsers or inattentive traffic, as well as costly scratches and dents, will be a thing of the past.
Kiekert's i-move “intelligent movement“ system provides a comfortable, automatically driven opening and closing action for the car door, similar to automated opening and closing of rear hatches. Pressing a button in the vehicle starts the process of door movement, opening up a new dimension of comfort for all ages.
Kiekert maintains a development and manufacturing center in Wixom, Michigan, that serves as the company’s lead engineering and program management center for the NAFTA region. Together with a sister plant in Mexico, the Wixom location is responsible for more than $250 million in annual revenue. Recent improvements have nearly tripled production at the Wixom plant from 350,000 door-latch modules in 2013 to more than one million units last year.
Based in Heiligenhaus, Germany, Kiekert AG was founded in 1857 and is the worldwide market leader in automotive locking systems. With more than 6,500 employees in eight production, six development and three sales centers in 10 countries, Kiekert develops, produces and sells tailor-made customer solutions. Turnover for the 2017 business year will be over 1 billion dollars. In 2017, Kiekert celebrates the company’s 160th anniversary. As the lead engineering and program management center for the NAFTA region, Kiekert’s Wixom location and its sister plant in Mexico are responsible for more than $250 million in annual revenue. Today Kiekert has a market share of 25 percent in the NAFTA region.