Bayer, Mitsubishi and Kyowa to Drive Forward Polycarbonate Automotive Glazing

Bayer MaterialScience has agreed close technical cooperation with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Plastic Technology Co., Ltd. and Kyowa Industrial Co., Ltd. in the field of polycarbonate (PC) automotive glazing. By combining their expertise in injection molding applications, the three partners are looking to drive forward technological developments for this range of applications and the use of PC glazing in the Japanese automotive industry.

As part of the cooperation, the partners will use an electric two-component injection molding machine with reversing plate from Mitsubishi's emR series with a locking force of 1,450 metric tons for customer trials in Mitsubishi's new technical service center at its headquarters (Iwatsuka plant) in Nagoya City.

Bayer MaterialScience is a global market leader in polycarbonate automotive glazing and a leader in the development of materials and technologies for this application. As well as expertise in technological developments, Bayer MaterialScience will also be contributing its materials knowledge and materials for mold proving. Specially adapted materials that have already proven effective in the series production of automotive glazing will be used for the two-component injection molding process.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Plastic Technology is a leading manufacturer of electric injection molding machines. Kyowa Industrial brings to the cooperation its expertise as a major global producer of molds for injection molding applications.

The company has bundled its full range of expertise in automotive glazing with its high-tech polycarbonate Makrolon under the BayVision brand name. "Our extensive BayVision know-how is immediately made available to customers in Japan through this cooperation with the Japanese partners," explains Volkhard Krause, head of the global Automotive Glazing team at Bayer MaterialScience. "The cooperation with our Japanese partners reflects our efforts to offer automakers and systems suppliers a complete, innovative package of know-how and services for glazing solutions covering all steps in the process chain."

"We see excellent growth opportunities worldwide for polycarbonate automotive glazing, particularly given the increasingly strict emissions regulations in all leading industrial nations," adds Krause. "Materials such as our polycarbonate Makrolon are much lighter than glass - this enables us to cut the weight of panorama roofs, for example, by up to 50 percent, resulting in a significant reduction in fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Additional functions such as defogging, antennae and infrared protection can easily be integrated when manufacturing roof modules, rear windows and other glazing applications. Polycarbonate also offers superb design freedom." In this context, it is also important to mention visionary glazing concept studies that the company develops independently to highlight possible applications for polycarbonate glazing and provide new impetus for innovation.

The collaboration with the two Japanese partners forms Bayer MaterialScience's second large technology cell for developments in the polycarbonate glazing sector. Support for customers across the globe is significantly underpinned by a new two-component injection molding machine with a locking force of 2,300 metric tons at the company's own global Glazing Center in Leverkusen, which went into operation in summer 2009. This machine can manufacture parts up to 1.2 square meters in size.

Injection molding has already proven to be the process of choice for large, three-dimensional glazing components such as panorama roofs. With reduced injection pressure, it delivers low-stress and low-distortion components exhibiting excellent surface quality that lend themselves to the application of wetcoats. This technology too can be employed on the machine in Leverkusen, with the experience gained being made available for projects throughout the world. In addition to investing in the injection molding facility, Bayer MaterialScience has once again extended its large coating technical service center in Germany and integrated it in the BayVision concept.

This center can coat three-dimensional molded polycarbonate components measuring up to 1.4 square meters using flow coating. "Our BayVision brand offers a comprehensive package of technology and know-how to serve a very broad range of requirements for developments in PC glazing," says Hiroyuki Fukui, manager for automotive glazing at Bayer MaterialScience Japan. "Our new cooperation in Japan is a key milestone in transferring this expertise and thus providing our customers with locally based, tailor-made support."

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