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Innovator in Wieselburg – ZKW with 46 patents in 4th place in the Austrian ranking in 2023

Innovator in Wieselburg – ZKW with 46 patents in 4th place in the Austrian ranking in 2023

The ZKW Group filed 46 patents – out of a total of 2,355 applications from Austria – to the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2023. The Wieselburg company specializing in lighting systems is therefore among the top 5 companies in Austria.

The developments registered by ZKW with the EPA reflect the latest lighting technologies for the automotive sector. The illuminated front of the car is considered one of the best innovations in lighting and design. Another innovation that ZKW has patented are ultra-thin light guide panels that aim to replace OLEDs and revolutionize car design. “Continuous research and innovation is the DNA of our company. Through innovative lighting systems, we create more flexibility in vehicle design,” explains Wilhelm Steiger, CEO of ZKW Group.

Moving fiber optic light for the front of the car

Thanks to this innovation, the ZKW development team has successfully used optical fibers to create a moving light effect that can be used, for example, on vehicle fascias as a cost-effective design element. The light-conducting fiber strands are fired with multiple LEDs that can be turned off and on one by one. The new technology is already being tested in the vehicle's front-end demonstration developed in collaboration with REHAU.

“We specifically use light guides as a diffuser and can therefore achieve very uniform illumination of thin, long and complex lines. By dimming the LED during the lighting sequence, the visual appearance can be further improved,” explained developers Leopold Pretzel and Stefan Ettlinger.

In collaboration with its partner Rehau, ZKW introduced the multi-color illuminated front grille panel at CES 2024 in Las Vegas.

picture:
ZKW Collection


Ultra-flat light panels as an alternative to OLED

ZKW has filed a patent for a concept with the trade name “AreaZ”, which enables homogeneous lighting thanks to specially designed optics, light guiding panels and reflectors – similar to OLED technology. This innovation meets the requirements of vehicle manufacturers as well as legal requirements for signal and location lamps, requires little energy thanks to LED technology and is more cost-effective than OLED.

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“The AreaZ concept consists of an optical main body that collects light from several LED light sources using small extruded converging lenses and redirects it to the actual illuminated surface via so-called reflective facets. A second lens with a granular surface ensures the desired ‘milky’ appearance,” says project manager Christian Mullauer. There is a lamp in it.”

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The innovation, which has been filed for patent under the brand name “AreaZ,” enables light guide panels and reflectors to provide homogeneous illumination.

picture:
ZKW Collection


ZKW is among the top patent applicants in Austria

Among all Austrian companies, Borealis was the most active with 183 patent applications, followed by Tridonic (60), Julius Blum (59), as well as Fronius and ZKW with 46 applications each. In total, the EPO registered 2,355 domestic patent applications – similar to 2022 with 2,381 references. As in the previous year, Austria ranks 14th in the ranking of the most active patenting home countries in 2023, and remains among the top ten countries with the highest number of patent applications per capita. This value is considered a key indicator of the strength of innovation in any country.