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SABIC’S ULTEM™ Resin enables complex optical carrier design for Blickfeld's first smart LIDAR sensor


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•    Blickfeld has launched Qb2, the first smart LiDAR sensor that can both capture and process 3D data on a single device.
•    SABIC’s ULTEM™ resin facilitated the highly complex design of the optical carrier at a lower total system cost compared to aluminum. 

SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, has announced that its ULTEM™ resin has helped Blickfeld, a leading innovator in LiDAR technology, develop their recently launched Qb2 device. Blickfeld’s new Qb2 is the first smart LiDAR sensor that can both capture and process 3D data on a single device. LiDAR (light detection and ranging) is an optical sensing technique that uses lasers to produce highly accurate 3-dimensional measurements of any environment or object. The highly complex and miniaturized optical carrier required for this new device is molded in ULTEM resin. The choice of ULTEM resin helped to reduce total system cost compared to aluminum thanks to an integrated part design, lack of secondary operations and easier production scale up.

Dr. David Elvers, PhD, Business Development Manager at SABIC Specialties, mentioned: “ULTEM resin offered a clear solution to Blickfeld’s desire of replacing aluminum in their new compact optical carrier. LiDAR is a growing market, and we are proud that our advanced material and design support has once again proven to help customers like Blickfeld solve the design challenges of structural applications in opto-electronics.”

Blickfeld develops LiDAR solutions for application spaces such as security, crowd analytics and the monitoring of material volumes in harsh environments. Within the fast-growing LiDAR market, the manufacturer identified the opportunity to develop a compact and smartly integrated solution to further boost growth. The end-users of Blickfeld LiDAR solutions such as security companies for public venues, industrial manufacturing sites, and even farming welcome the benefit of a much easier, plug-and-play setup without the need for additional computing hardware. 

During the design phase of the Qb2, Blickfeld faced the challenge to miniaturize the design of the optical carrier while retaining its performance. Besides facilitating installation, compact and lightweight LiDAR designs are also important for unobtrusive security applications and crowd analytics. The Munich-based start-up needed a cost-effective material solution to reduce the part size through design integration. 

After extensive investigation and evaluation together with SABIC, Blickfeld selected ULTEM resin as the ideal engineering thermoplastic resin capable of meeting all the critical specification criteria of the highly complex Qb2 optical carrier.

The optical carrier is one of the most challenging parts of the LiDAR device as it holds its key optics and micro-electronics. The demanding material requirements for this newly developed part included:

  • Reliable retention of dimensional tolerances in all directions over a broad range of temperatures to support the high optical performance of the LiDAR in different environments.
  • Low creep behavior to deliver the functionality of snap fits and other features throughout the lifetime of the device.
  • Lower system costs and easier production scale up compared to aluminum.

Terje Noevig, Chief Operating Officer at Blickfeld, states: “We were very pleased about the technical design and simulation support provided by SABIC’s team during the entire Qb2 development process. Their capabilities and commitment enabled us to add a new chapter to the evolution of our 3D LiDAR technology. Together with the high quality of the selected ULTEM resin, this allowed us to achieve a distinct competitive advantage in our market space.”

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