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Cold formable chrome-effect film from Bayer MaterialScience

Published on 2007-10-26. Author : SpecialChem

Leverkusen -- Visually, Makrofol® 3D Metallic FG film from Bayer MaterialScience AG boasts a high-quality metallic gloss and a very eye-catching appearance. It is also the first film of its kind that can be formed. "This chrome-colored polycarbonate film provides an alternative to the traditional screen printed mirror-finish for films and the electroplating of plastic moldings," explains Hans Braun, a film expert at Bayer MaterialScience.

Makrofol® 3D Metallic FG polycarbonate film provides an alternative to the traditional screen printed mirror-finish for films and the electroplating of plastic moldings
Makrofol® 3D Metallic FG polycarbonate film provides an alternative to the traditional screen printed mirror-finish for films and the electroplating of plastic moldings

Electroplating systems are cost-intensive in terms of investment, maintenance and staff, and they are often ecologically unsound due to the unavoidable use of chemical baths. Waste resulting from surface defects also has a negative impact on the costs. Moreover, the electroplated metal coating also shields components against electromagnetic radiation, which is not always desirable - for instance in covered aerials in cars or in cell phones. "The new metallic film gets around this problem because it does not act as a shield against electromagnetic radiation. What's more, it partially transmits light, which means that hidden symbols can be generated that only reveal information when they are backlit," reveals Braun.

A film insert molding (FIM) process can be used to process the film into three-dimensional components with an impressive metallic gloss effect. "This method is particularly lucrative for manufacturers who employ the FIM process. They are now able to produce a ready-decorated metallic-effect molding with or without printing. In other words, they can practically buy the coated chrome film off the roll," says Braun.

The new film can be cold-formed in a high pressure forming (HPF) process - without losing its gloss. It can be overmolded and back-injected and printed on both sides with very good graphic quality. A special coating protects the metallic effect layer against scratching.

"Makrofol® 3D Metallic FG film is used in a wide range of applications in the automotive industry, for example in facings, logos and insignia. Furthermore, it is ideal for the production of dials for dashboards and decorative trim," adds Braun.

The metallic effect can be finished with special translucent or transparent color effects using the Aura infusion coloring method. To do so, the film component is immersed in a color system that has been specifically developed for polycarbonates. This method offers the advantage that the coloring solution can be changed quickly and at low cost during production. As a result, it is ideal for designing small series with customized colors. The color intensity is controlled by the length of the infusion process. Color gradients can be created by removing the molded part slowly from the solution in a controlled operation. Unlike surface coating, the dye in this immersion method penetrates into the plastic film, ensuring that scratches and other signs of wear and tear are less evident. Makrofol® 3D FG Metallic is available in thicknesses of 180 and 325 micrometers.

About Bayer MaterialScience:

With 2006 sales of EUR 10.2 billion (continuing operations), Bayer MaterialScience 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, electrical and electronics, construction and sports and leisure industries. Bayer MaterialScience has 30 production sites around the globe and employed approximately 14,900 people at the end of 2006. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company.

Source: Bayer MaterialScience


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