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Latest Innovations by Bayer MaterialScience LLC Provide Performance Advantages and Enable Quick, Custom Color Matches for Molded Parts in Automotive Lighting Systems

Published on 2007-07-19. Author : SpecialChem

PITTSBURGH -- As automakers get bolder in their quest to differentiate their vehicles from the competition, smaller vehicle model runs are allowing them to consider using proprietary AURA® infusion technology from Bayer MaterialScience LLC (BMS) for automotive LED (light-emitting diode) lenses and optics to achieve unprecedented levels of customization while remaining cost-competitive.

Proprietary AURA® infusion technology from Bayer MaterialScience LLC can be used with automotive LED (light-emitting diode) lenses and optics to achieve unprecedented levels of customization while remaining cost-competitive.

Aside from an extensive palette of transparent color possibilities, this patented post-molding technology offers other important benefits, especially for applications that need to be produced in a number of hues. Since color is infused into parts that are already made from clear, translucent or opaque resins, OEMs and lighting suppliers can produce their product "on demand" and thus reduce inventories. The system is configurable for any size operation.

"Adding color is the wave of the future, as it creates automotive lighting that is dramatically different," explained Doug Stratton, project leader, Future Business Automotive Industry Innovation, BMS LLC. "New technologies, such as Bayer MaterialScience's AURA infusion technology, may be utilized, for instance, to tint automotive headlamp trim rings and light rods, adding a splash of color that matches or complements a vehicle's body paint."

According to Stratton, with AURA infusion technology, custom-colored components can be ready for market in a matter of hours instead of weeks as is typical with more conventional coloring and color matching techniques, allowing OEMs to capture market opportunities that would otherwise be missed. The technology can be used for a wide variety of transparent colors by infusing natural material, and can also create special effects, such as color gradients.

The Lincoln MKR sports sedan concept features LED adaptive headlamps that have specific optics colored through AURA infusion technology to appear amber when lit.

"For automotive OEMs and lighting suppliers, AURA infusion technology offers the ultimate in control, speed and flexibility, since they can decide how many molded parts they will color at a time, thus reducing inventory and process complexity," Stratton added. "And technical advancements are going beyond color, to include other areas like UV protection and the development of pigments suitable for infusion technology dyes to meet SAE exterior lighting industry standards."

Apollo Color Coating, based in Roseville, Mich., has licensed AURA infusion technology from BMS to create items such as turn signal optics. James M. Grimes, vice president and general manager of The Apollo Group, Inc., is enthusiastic about the infusion process, noting that "AURA infusion technology can solve many appearance, processing and performance challenges with already molded auto lighting parts. Through the infusion process, the coloring agent actually penetrates the plastic and makes the color a part of the piece, rather than placing a layer on top of it – the color cannot rub off or peel off."

Bryan L. May, plant and process manager for Apollo Color Coating, explained that plastic parts – typically made from engineered plastics Bayer manufactures, as well as others – are immersed in the proprietary, hot, mostly aqueous mixture, where coloration occurs rapidly. The article is removed from the mixture, rinsed and dried to produce a market-ready part. According to May, weathering is comparable to colors achieved through compounded resins.

AURA infusion technology is one of five different Fantasia® color technologies that provide a virtually limitless spectrum of options for color and special effects. The other technologies include LEDA® compounded color technology, IMAGIO® coatings technology, FARIA® film insert molding technology and MILENA® color concentrate technology.

Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with nearly 14,900 employees at 30 sites around the world and 2006 sales of 10.2 billion euros from continuing operations. Our innovative developments in coatings, adhesive and sealant raw materials, polycarbonates, polyurethanes and thermoplastic urethane elastomers enhance the design and functionality of products in a wide variety of markets, including the automotive, construction, electrical and electronics, household and medical industries, and the sports and leisure fields. Our inorganic basic chemicals unit produces chlorine and related essential products for the chemicals industry. Let us give life to your vision. Bayer MaterialScience – Where VisionWorks.

Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and innovative materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2006 net sales of 7.8 billion euros and employed 17,200 at year end. Bayer's three subgroups, Bayer HealthCare, Bayer CropScience and Bayer MaterialScience, improve people's lives through a broad range of essential products that help diagnose, prevent and treat diseases; protect crops and enhance yields; and advance automobile safety and durability. Bayer AG stock is a component of the DAX and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: BAY).

This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. Th ese factors include those discussed in our public reports filed with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (including our Form 20-F). The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

Source: Bayer MaterialScience

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