Covestro develops matte, formable hardcoat films
Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has developed scratch-resistant, formable hardcoat films for the decorative design of component surfaces in automotive interiors. After high-gloss films with a piano finish proved successful, the use of matte film grades is now on the rise. At the Fakuma trade show from October 13 to 17, 2015, Covestro is introducing Makrofol® HF polycarbonate films with various matte levels.
“They range from matte, finely textured surfaces with a high level of diffusion, to glare-free films and deep matte grades,” said Dirk Pophusen, Head of Product and Applications Development for Specialty Films in Europe. At an angle of 60°, these matte products display a gloss level of just 1.9 units when back-printed black. The finely textured matte films achieve gloss levels between 70 and 75 under the same conditions.
“Matte films can easily be printed, formed or back-injected in a film insert moulding process, just like their high-gloss counterparts,” said Roland Künzel, Head of the Technical Centre for Film Processing in Dormagen, Germany. The good formability, even with small radii of curvature and high depth of draw, are due to the special coating layer, which is based on a dispersion coating that is only pre-cured. The forming process precedes final curing with conventional UV lamps. The three-dimensional crosslinking of the coating lends the films their high scratch and abrasion resistance; the films are also resistant to sun protection products and chemicals.
With the help of these pre-cured films, manufacturers can produce quality interior components with three-dimensional matte and scratch-resistant surfaces, and still dispense with the costly and complex coating step. In addition to using Makrofol® HF in automotive interior design, for instance for side fascia, Covestro also sees opportunities for its application in consumer electronics, IT equipment and in combination with printed polymer electronics.
Covestro offers a wide range of polycarbonate and thermoplastic elastomer films for a variety applications, not to mention a line of premium specialty films. Three technology centres in Germany steer development activities for Europe and are equipped with modern fabricating, processing and testing facilities: The Competence Centre for Blown Film Technology in Bomlitz (D), for Flat Films in Dormagen and for Film Coatings in Leverkusen. “Our overall aim is to gear all efforts to market trends and the needs of our customers even more than before,” said Pophusen.
The company’s centre for polycarbonate-based flat films in Dormagen is now also home to our Technical Centre for Film Processing, an expanded showroom and two research laboratories, one of which has been totally re-equipped.
The matte and high-gloss coated polycarbonate films described above are developed and produced at the Competence Centre for Film Coatings in Leverkusen, Germany.
Multi-layer thermoplastic elastomer films are the core activity at the centre in Bomlitz. In addition to large-scale plants, Covestro also operates a pilot facility for multi-layer blown films, which are used, for example, in medical applications as well as the automotive and textile industries.