Automotive | ARRK Engineering | LED Module | LED Reflector | Jul 04, 2024

Compact LED Reflector Module Simplifies Development and Reduces Time-to-Market

To see and be seen is still the most important aspect of road safety. Tis is ensured by reflector or projection headlights, among other things. Although the latter generally have more functionalities, they are not suitable for all mobility concepts. They require more installation space and a more complex control system, which has a noticeable impact on development time and cost. LED-based reflector technologies focusing on lighting performance are therefore still a popular alternative.

This is all the more the case as LEDs are far superior to older, cost-effective technologies such as halogen or HID lamps, due to their high energy efficiency and durability. As many headlight manufacturers have specialized in the more lucrative projection technology, clients from within the mobility industry often have to develop cheaper or smaller front lighting systems themselves, which in turn drives up development time and cost. A new LED reflector module, the prototype of which ARRK Engineering and ARRK SPG Prototyping presented for the first time at ISAL 2023, offers a practical solution. The ready-made module requires little installation space and can be integrated into various mobility concepts. Within the mobility industry, it can help both low-volume OEMs and start-ups by reducing development cost and time-to-market.

Reflector headlights are almost as old as the modern car. In fact, they have been the standard for electric vehicle lighting since the 1910s. Although they have faced competition from more complex projection technology since the 1980s, they are still the first choice for many new cars – in recent years increasingly with energy-efficient and long-lasting LEDs as light source.

“The reflector straightforwardly focuses on lighting functionality,” says Carsten Taeuscher, Head of Optical Systems at ARRK Engineering. “Unlike earlier reflection headlights, the new LED reflectors can now be designed considerably smaller, so they take up less space and are suitable for many applications due to their size and lower development and production cost.” With the LED projection module, on the other hand, you have to pay a higher price for extra functionality: both in the literal sense in terms of production cost and in the form of space requirements and complex control electronics. This noticeably affects development cycles, production and assembly and drives up overall cost. The “big brother” of headlights is therefore more suitable for higher-class vehicles or for optional equipment packages, while many cars, two-wheelers, commercial and agricultural machinery as well as transport vehicles and pedelecs, are better served with simple but functional LED reflectors.

LED reflector module fills market niche

Yet, vehicle manufacturers who opt for the cheaper lighting solution face a problem: most major headlight manufacturers mainly offer more complex LED projection modules, because they generate higher sales. As a result, vehicle manufacturers have to develop customized LED reflectors for their respective applications themselves, which in turn takes time and involves additional effort. “There is a clear gap in the market for LED reflectors,” confirms Taeuscher. “Last year, we therefore invested in the development of a ready-made LED reflector module for high and low beam that can be easily integrated into different vehicle types, thus drastically reducing time to market.” The development partners ARRK Engineering and ARRK SPG are currently presenting the prototype to interested users and are working on getting the module ready for series production. The versatile combination options for various lighting applications based on two separate reflector modules make it just as suitable for small quantities, e.g. for start-ups, as it is for small and medium quantities for OEMs.

To ensure that the light module can be used as flexibly as possible, the developers focus on miniaturization. “The challenge is to achieve optimum efficiency and light distribution despite the small size,” reports Taeuscher. “Choosing a reflector that is too small quickly results in a significant loss of efficiency, which we don’t want to accept.” During the course of subsequent series development, the positioning of the light source and reflector in relation to each other will therefore be further optimized. In addition, a high-quality coating that provides maximum reflectivity and minimizes light loss is just as important. In this regard as well as on the search for dimensionally stable high-performance materials, ARRK Engineering and ARRK SPG – in particular the business unit ARRK Visibility Solutions (AVS) specializing in lighting – are working closely with the Japanese parent company Mitsui Chemicals.

Slim design for versatile use

Given the current market dominance of cost-intensive LED projection modules, start-ups in particular are dependent on affordable and ready-to-use solutions for front lighting. However, low-volume OEMs can also benefit from the new light module by ARRK Engineering and AVS: Due to its compact yet flexible design, it can be easily customized to individual requirements. This leaves valuable space for additional cameras and sensors, for example, which are required for increasingly complex driver assistance systems, especially ADAS. “As we are focusing development on a slim design with maximum light output, the application is not limited exclusively to the automotive sector. With minor modifications, the LED reflector modules can also prove useful for transport, commercial and agricultural machinery as well as two-wheelers and pedelecs,” summarizes Taeuscher.

Further information at and

ARRK Engineering is a globally active development partner for the automotive and mobility industry, specializing in end-to-end and comprehensive support of the entire product development process – from the concept phase through series development to validation and system integration of mechanical and electronic components. The share of development tasks from the fields of e-mobility, autonomous driving and software development in a digitalized development environment has been growing steadily for years and is becoming increasingly important. Through highly efficient project management, ARRK Engineering achieves the set development goals together with their customers. As part both of their developments and as a separate service, ARRK Engineering supplies prototypes and pre-series tools for small quantities. They rely on the long-standing, interdisciplinary expertise of their 1,600 employees at locations in Germany, Romania, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Japan and China. As a member of the international ARRK Group, ARRK Engineering has additional resources available worldwide to support their customers in international markets as well.

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