Diverse applications in automotive interiors
Covestro is presenting a broad range of film products for automotive interiors at the IZB International Suppliers Fair in Wolfsburg, Germany. They are durable, offer extensive design freedom, support the integration of various functions and can be processed cost-efficiently.
One key topic at present is matte films with scratch-resistant coatings that can be formed three-dimensionally. They are Covestro’s response to the trend towards matte, anti-glare surfaces. Makrofol® HF polycarbonate films are available in different matte levels ranging from finely textured surfaces with a high level of diffusion, to anti-glare films and deep matte grades. The product line is further enhanced by anti-glare films for integrated automotive displays.
Easy-to-form films thanks to pre-cured coating
After printing the films can easily be formed and back-injected by means of film insert molding (FIM) thanks to a coating layer based on a dispersion coating that is only pre-cured. “Final curing under UV lamps is not carried out until after the forming process,” explained film expert Dirk Pophusen.
The three-dimensional crosslinking of the coating lends the films their high resistance to scratching and chemicals. “This method enables manufacturers to produce premium interior components with three-dimensional surfaces and eliminates the complex coating step normally required at the end of the production process,” said Pophusen.
Sophisticated solutions with TPU films
Thin thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) films are also very well suited for use in automotive interiors, such as for the fabrication of sound-attenuating components. On account of their high elasticity and extensibility as well as excellent foam adhesion, the films can be drawn into a mold by a vacuum, without the addition of heat, and backmolded. The resulting parts not only deliver effective sound attenuation, they also produce a reliable seal and are resistant to the chemicals commonly used in motor vehicles.
To engineer components that are increasingly space-saving yet at the same time feature new functions, Covestro is working with partners to develop a concept for embedding electronic components inside the films, such as lighting elements or sensors. The special feature of these films is that the combination of the elastic TPU film and the electronic components is equally well-suited for thermoforming and back-injection.
Modern development centers
Covestro operates three technology centers in Germany that are equipped with modern manufacturing, processing and testing facilities for the development of its elastomer and specialty films: The Competence Center for Blown Film Technology in Bomlitz, for Flat Films in Dormagen and for Film Coatings in Leverkusen.
With 2015 sales of EUR 12.1 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has 30 production sites around the globe and as of the end of 2015 employed approximately 15,800 people (full-time equivalents).
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