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GE Advanced Materials and Exatec Fuse Function and Aesthetics for Leading Innovative Large Surface Glazing Technologies

Published on 2005-04-19. Author : SpecialChem

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- GE Advanced Materials, Automotive, working in collaboration with Exatec, offers premium design options for large three-dimensional (3-D) glazing panels for rear and roof window applications and other 3-D parts by combining high-performance Lexan(1) GLX resin with unique coating technologies from Exatec.

This innovative, new technology pairing enables highly weatherable, light-weight glazing that integrates Lexan polycarbonate (PC) resin's outstanding transparency with resistance to chemicals and abrasion. It may also provide more design freedom to OEMs wishing to incorporate greater functionality and aesthetics into automotive panels.

The GE-Exatec collaboration aims, in part, to help address and lead the auto industry's move toward larger, automotive backlite and roof glazing panels, as well as deluxe panoramic roofs. For example, while the side and rear quarter windows of modern limousines have become slightly smaller, higher rising door panels, larger backlite and roof glazing panels - up to luxurious panoramic roofs - are meeting with growing consumer acceptance. With this in mind, engineers from both companies have developed innovative materials and processing, printing, and coating technologies that are key to this large-surface glazing. Applications using the panels are currently under development with various Tier-1 suppliers and OEMs.

With the introduction of the Lexan GLX resin portfolio, GE has taken a major step forward in optimizing its proven polycarbonate technology to meet the growing industry demand for large, 3-D rear and roof glazing panels with high impact strength, durable UV protection, and excellent dimensional stability. In addition, new Lexan GLX resin enhancements, currently under development, could potentially lead to infrared barriers that may help decrease automotive interior heat build-up, thus reducing the loads on cooling systems.

GE's Lexan GLX resin may also contribute to the development of large sunroofs and backlites that could offer up to a 50 percent weight reduction vs. comparably sized glass windows. At the same time, the resin offers the potential to reduce assembly time and costs. Additionally, the use of GE's proprietary Visualfx(1) resin technology opens a wide range of possibilities for model differentiation based on color.

The EXATEC® 900 coating system includes an optimized wet coat tailored to the specific requirements of the automotive glazing environment. This advanced wet coat improves the adhesion to the final (PECVD) protective layers (plasma coating), and offers a wider processing window than competitive materials for higher yields at potentially lower cost.

Exatec Glazing Systems feature coatings that meet the 10-year weathering and abrasion resistance required by OEMs globally. The solvent-free, water-based primer in the EXATEC 900 coating system is less prone to molded-in stresses, minimizing the risk of micro cracks and delamination. Furthermore, the plasma coat exhibits a glass-like surface energy, providing optimum compatibility with standard adhesives used in the automotive industry for final bonding of the glazing to the vehicle body.

As a result of years of global experience and leadership in technology and providing customer-centric solutions, the innovations of GE and Exatec's work are in demand due to positive responses among leading automotive manufacturers. The first pilot applications are already "on the road," and both GE and Exatec are running a comprehensive evaluation program for correlating laboratory and field data gained from a fleet of dedicated test vehicles, in order to further optimize the new glazing system.

About GE Advanced Materials

GE Advanced Materials is a world leader in providing high-technology material solutions. Headquartered in Pittsfield, Mass., its businesses include Plastics, Silicones, Quartz, Automotive, Specialty Film & Sheet, Polymershapes, and Sealants and Adhesives.

GE (NYSE:GE - News) is a diversified technology, media, and financial services company dedicated to creating products that make life better. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, medical imaging, television programming, and plastics, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide.

About Exatec

Exatec is a joint venture of GE Advanced Materials and Bayer MaterialScience, with strategic headquarters at Wixom, Mich., USA; and Bergisch Gladbach, near Cologne, Germany. Exatec is continuously developing new technologies as part of the Exatec® Glazing System, which is currently licensed to the Tier industry.

Source: GE Advanced Materials

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