The FINANCIAL -- When
it comes to the interior of their automobiles, more and more people
dream of a customized comfort zone. It should offer a level of comfort
similar to that of their living room at home while including all the
latest technology and a high degree of functionality. At the K 2013
plastics trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany, Bayer MaterialScience is
presenting a complete material concept for the future design of
automobile interiors that goes a long way toward fulfilling this
customer dream, according to Bayer AG.
The company's motto for the fair, “Sharing Dreams, Sharing Value – Be Part of It,” thus also refers to the cockpit of the future, regardless of vehicle class. Last but not least, the concept also considers the desire of the automobile industry for more cost-effective manufacturing processes.
“Drivers are placing increasing value on customized and personalized interior appointments,” said Eckhard Wenz, an expert for automotive applications at Bayer MaterialScience's Polycarbonate Business Unit. This includes pleasant, atmospheric lighting, a seamless design and transparent, colored and diversely decorated surfaces. “Other trends include natural materials, expanded functionality and infotainment – and with perfect workmanship and the greatest possible impression of quality,” added Wenz. Bayer MaterialScience has developed an integrated design concept based on polycarbonate that fully and cost-efficiently satisfies these demands.
One example are innovative displays with a homogenous, three-dimensional surface, but sharp images and high brightness. This is made possible by rear projection technology, in which a light source behind the film transforms it into an illuminated display. Bayer MaterialScience has developed the special polycarbonate film Makrofol RP (RP stands for Rear Projection) for this application. “This technology opens up a whole new type of information to drivers, with only selected information being displayed,” explained Dirk Pophusen, Head of Film Applications in the Automobile in Europe.
When switched off, only an elegant, matte black surface is visible. The driver is not distracted by underlying structures or other effects. Bayer researchers developed the black panel technology behind this a couple of years ago, according to Bayer AG.
Bayer MaterialScience demonstrates the great potential of polycarbonate for the versatile design of components using decorative fascia as an example. The concept component was developed in close collaboration with the firm Gerhardi, which has developed a variable mold in which a very wide array of surfaces and design variants can be represented efficiently. These include matte and high-gloss structures, attractive shades with deep luster, and coated or metallized surfaces. Bayblend PG blend grades can be combined with innovative structured chromium variants to produce high-quality galvanized components.
The design variant spectrum extends all the way to 3D laser-engraved graining with two different gloss levels, combining matte and high-gloss regions on a single component, according to Bayer AG. Bayblend HG is particularly well suited for producing high-quality components at favorable manufacturing costs. Additional possibilities are presented by the back injection of decorated Makrofol HF films with a scratch-resistant coating.
Ideas abound, including the integration of light guides into premium decorated components, such as with genuine wood veneers. Or slim, lightweight seating concepts with diverse decorating options based on newly developed polycarbonate composite panels. “The automotive industry can benefit from both the wide diversity of design variants and the cost-effective production of the components,” said Wenz in summarizing the results of Bayer MaterialScience's new interior concept.