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Films from Covestro in the car cockpit

News 05.02.2018
The display surface is becoming an increasingly important field of application for polycarbonate films from Covestro

The development of film technologies for car interiors has made great progress in recent years. This is confirmed by the lectures to be held at the "Folien+Fahrzeug" conference with an accompanying exhibition on February 6 and 7, 2018 in Hanover, Germany.

"Trends such as autonomous driving, networking and individualization pose entirely new challenges, but also offer great opportunities for the use of polycarbonate and thermoplastic polyurethane films," explains Dirk Pophusen, film specialist at Covestro and technical director of the conference.

Seamlessly integrated 3D displays in large format

The number of displays and touchscreens in car interiors will increase drastically due to the progressing digitization and networking (connectivity) as well as the trend towards autonomous driving. Large-surface, three-dimensional screen designs that can be seamlessly integrated into the surfaces of instrument panels, center consoles, door and seat panels are a current trend.

What is also important is a high-contrast image and clearly legible information – even in adverse lighting conditions. Displays must not reflect light or dazzle (anti-glare). Covestro has developed Makrofol® HF, a two-stage curable film that can be formed over a large area and is especially suitable for the edging and trimming of such displays. Depending on the optical requirements, they can be adjusted from high gloss to fine matt and are resistant to chemicals and scratches.

Touch displays with a filigree 3D surface are a new application for Makrofol® films. They enable the driver to control the display and its functions simply by touching them without having to turn their eyes away from the road. This improves road safety.

Versatile possibilities with TPU films

In addition, Covestro will also be presenting the wide range of possible applications for films based on thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) in car interiors. Oliver Hennig, another Covestro film expert, will talk about the role they already play today and what opportunities are opening up for them in this respect in his presentation, "The use of TPU films in vehicles – silent heroes".

Platilon® TPU films from Covestro are present – although not always visible – in many parts of the car interior, such as textile laminates from roller blinds for sunroofs, as air chambers for lumbar supports of car seats or as foam shrouds for noise reduction components.

Decorative and lighting effects with flexible electronics

A new promising application is the so-called "flexible electronics". The elastic TPU films are equipped by film processors with electronic functions such as traces or sensor elements. "LEDs can also be integrated. The resulting film build-ups can be formed into geometrically highly complex decorative parts that provide lighting effects," says Hennig.

Flexible electronics based on TPU films could be used in electric vehicles for panel heating of large surface areas in car interiors and could replace the expensive exhaust air heating of traditional combustion engines. Hennig: "With their extreme flexibility and good adhesion to textiles, TPU films offer the best prerequisites for integrating the required conductor path electronics into door panels, for example."

About the company

With 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 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, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 15,600 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2016.

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