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Thermwood

Integrated Composite Speaker Panel

15 April 2003

Owens Corning Automotive is making progress in the development of an integrated composite speaker panel that will make automotive distributed mode loudspeakers (DMLs) commercially viable in the near future.

The composite speaker panel offers numerous benefits to OEMs, including lower systems costs, increased space savings, greater design flexibility, and weight reduction. Although a DML for automotive applications has been available from NXT since the late 1990’s, commercialization of the technology has not yet been made viable for the industry. The challenge has been to develop a speaker panel that offers both acoustic and structural performance, despite the facts that a vehicle’s limited space can jeopardize sound quality and environmental conditions can present potential durability issues. To date, the cost to commercially produce a high-performing panel has been prohibitive.

“It’s clear that the only way to realize the commercialization of distributed mode loudspeakers in the automotive industry is to develop a speaker panel with great acoustic and structural integrity that is also cost-competitive with conventional cone speakers,” said

OC Automotive’s composite speaker panel addresses the OEM’s demand for system cost reduction. Equipped with an NXT automotive exciter, the composite speaker panel is fully integrated into an instrument or door trim panel when delivered to the OEM. Therefore, installation requires fewer components and much less labor than conventional speakers. “By working with a Tier One supplier, we can present OEMs with a solution that provides a clear competitive advantage over more traditional offerings,” said Hopkins.

The OEMs’ needs for increased packaging space, greater design freedom and improved sound performance are also addressed by OC Automotive’s composite speaker panel. In addition to requiring less than a third of the depth of conventional cone speakers, the speaker panels are able to produce both high and mid frequencies and are free from sound directionality issues. Such benefits impart automotive designers with the ability to place the speaker panels to increase space efficiency without compromising acoustic performance.






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