Lexan Winscreen Helps Chinese Automaker Produce Concept Minivan

Glazing solutions from SABIC Innovative Plastics are helping Guangzhou Auto Group Co.’s (GAC) first concept vehicle turn heads at AutoGuangzhou 2007. Replacing traditional glass, Lexan* GLX polycarbonate (PC) resin glazing with Exatec* coating delivers what consumers are clamoring for – edgy style with lower weight for better performance, handling, and fuel economy. As a leading materials supplier to the China market, SABIC Innovative Plastics collaborated with Italian design house Torino Design to create stunning components that raise this five-door minivan-style hybrid concept to the level of art. With unique and complex glazing designs, the A-HEV brings the outdoors into the vehicle for a more-compelling driving experience.

“Our participation in this landmark project attests to SABIC Innovative Plastics’ strong and growing presence in China’s auto industry,” said Eric Herman, general manager, Automotive, China, SABIC Innovative Plastics. “It has been an honor to play a key role in the design of this beautiful and practical concept vehicle. Our Lexan GLX glazing technology enabled Guangzhou Automobile Group’s designers to break new ground in styling and practicality – in fact, many of the components simply could not have been created in any material but Lexan GLX resin. We look forward to expanding our work with China’s automakers by bringing the aesthetic and performance benefits of lightweight, impact-resistant glazing solutions to consumers.”

The GAC concept car features door and fender inserts, a panoramic roof that flows seamlessly into the windscreen, and a two-part tailgate window – all designed using Lexan GLX PC glazing with Exatec coating technology. These components are integrated with printing, defrost, and hidden antenna technologies.

Lexan GLX glazing offers the vehicles of tomorrow a winning combination of design flexibility to promote creativity and part consolidation; light weight to boost fuel economy; and impact resistance for occupant safety. Compared to the design restrictions of glass, Lexan GLX resin can be formed into complicated, three-dimensional shapes. The material also reduces weight by about 50 percent vs. glass, helping to optimize fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. By integrating components together the cost of lightweight Lexan GLX glazing components is no more than equivalent laminated glass.

“The A-HEV design is notable for its extensive use of glazing to eliminate traditional barriers between the vehicle’s occupants and the landscape for a more intense and immediate driving experience. The sleek, single-piece panorama roof and windscreen provide visibility comparable to a convertible without sacrificing safety, and the door/fender inserts provide a unique side view of the road. The two-part tailgate window gives the A-HEV a distinctive appearance from the rear,” said Roberto Piatti, CEO and managing director of Torino Design.

For this design and future projects, SABIC Innovative Plastics offers Chinese automakers the value-added services of its Glazing Center of Excellence in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands. The facility is aimed at helping customers around the world design, create, and process innovative auto glazing applications using Lexan GLX PC resins and other engineered materials. The company has invested significant resources to support customers in the creation of exceptional glazing applications. With the incorporation of Exatec glazing technologies alongside the Lexan GLX PC glazing portfolio, SABIC Innovative Plastics is able to deliver the full range of PC glazing solutions. These include coating technologies such as plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition and silicone hard-coats; printing technologies such as optimized screen-printing, 3D printing and conductive ink systems; optimized bonding methods; defroster printing and design technologies; electroluminescent ambient lighting; and fractal antenna technology for flush, hidden antennas.

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