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SABIC & ULVAC Launch ULGLAZE System for Plasma Coating of Automotive PC Glazing Components

Published on 2012-10-15. Author : SpecialChem

SABIC's Innovative Plastics business, a world leader in engineering thermoplastics and advanced material solutions, and ULVAC Inc., a leader in mass-production vacuum technologies, announced the commercial availability of the new, state-of-the-art ULGLAZE system for high-volume production of plasma-coated polycarbonate (PC) components for automotive glazing applications. The ULGLAZE machine is manufactured at ULVAC's facility in Chiagasaki, Japan and was developed as part of a two-year collaboration between SABIC and ULVAC. Optimized for LEXAN™ resin and EXATEC™ plasma coatings from SABIC, this unique solution now enables automotive OEMs and tiers to mass produce lightweight, durable and aerodynamic glazing components - like rear quarter and side windows, backlite windows, rear spoilers and sunroofs - that deliver exceptional performance and aesthetics over the life of the vehicle. The availability of this technology marks a significant milestone in enabling automakers to take full advantage of PC glazing to create lighter vehicles for improved fuel efficiency and performance. In addition, this achievement demonstrates the power of proactive collaboration between two technology leaders on behalf of the automotive industry, which now has the tools to adopt PC glazing cost-effectively and on a broad scale.

"ULVAC studied EXATEC plasma coating technology and found that it offers significant advantages in the processing time and performance it gave us," said Hisaharu Obinata, Chief Executive Officer, ULVAC. "In fact, we found that the EXATEC plasma coating process is at least 30 times faster than other plasma coating technologies used for PC glazing. We then validated the process and plasma coating through the creation of the ULGLAZE machine. SABIC's coating technology, together with ULVAC's extensive experience in developing automotive equipment for a broad range of applications enabled our team to develop a system that promotes high productivity and reliability."

"With the availability of this high-volume coating technology, PC glazing is now ready to play a much larger role in automotive design and make a greater contribution to improved fuel economy, reduced emissions and increased vehicle range," said Amanda Roble, lead executive, SABIC's automotive PC glazing unit. "With this machinery, automakers can take full advantage of PC glazing technology and integrate it into their vehicles. To help accelerate this momentum, SABIC and ULVAC will continue to collaborate and invest in R&D to further improve the machinery and process technology to produce plasma-coated LEXAN resin parts for vehicle windows."

Efficient, Large-scale Production

This new high-volume production capability is based on the benefits of three advanced technologies: the efficiencies of the ULGLAZE coating equipment, featuring a high deposition rate with low temperature, continuous process and ability to coat parts of various sizes and shapes; the legendary performance of impact-resistant LEXAN resin; and the unmatched weatherability and abrasion resistance of EXATEC plasma coatings. Together, the companies have optimized this system for exceptional quality, consistency and throughput. In particular, customers may realize cost efficiencies through a more rapid process and high yields.

ULVAC has a long history of designing, building and supplying equipment used in the manufacture of automotive applications. ULVAC has sold more than 1,000 similar inline systems capable of coating large parts with both high reliability and productivity.

In addition to automotive glazing, the ULGLAZE system is a candidate for use in consumer electronics display applications (touchscreens, monitors) and electrical components, semiconductors and solar cells.

About SABIC

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) ranks among the world's top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world's market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.

SABIC recorded a net profit of SR 29.24 billion (US$ 7.80 billion) in 2011. Sales revenues for 2011 totaled SR 189.90 billion (US$ 50.64 billion). Total assets stood at SR 332.78 billion (US$ 88.74 billion) at the end of 2011.

SABIC's businesses are grouped into Chemicals, Polymers, Performance Chemicals, Fertilizers, Metals and Innovative Plastics. SABIC has significant research resources with 17 dedicated Technology & Innovation facilities in Saudi Arabia, the USA, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, India and South Korea. The company operates in more than 40 countries across the world with around 40,000 employees worldwide.

SABIC manufactures on a global scale in Saudi Arabia, the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Headquartered in Riyadh, SABIC was founded in 1976 when the Saudi Arabian Government decided to use the hydrocarbon gases associated with its oil production as the principal feedstock for production of chemicals, polymers and fertilizers. The Saudi Arabian Government owns 70 percent of SABIC shares with the remaining 30 percent held by private investors in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

About Innovative Plastics

SABIC's Innovative Plastics business is a leading, global supplier of engineering thermoplastics with an 80-year history of breakthrough solutions that solve its customers' most pressing challenges. Today, Innovative Plastics is a multi-billion-dollar company with operations in more than 35 countries and approximately 9,000 employees worldwide. The company continues to lead the plastics industry with customer collaboration and continued investments in new polymer technologies, global application development, process technologies, and environmentally responsible solutions that serve diverse markets such as automotive, electronics, building & construction, transportation, and healthcare. The company's extensive product portfolio includes thermoplastic resins, coatings, specialty compounds, film, and sheet. Innovative Plastics is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).

About ULVAC

ULVAC, Inc. was established as a pioneer of vacuum technology in Japan in 1952. ULVAC has grown with progress of vacuum technology. Now ULVAC is only one company that supplies to customers' products and service based on vacuum technology for application of display device such as LCD, PDP, OLED, various types of electric components and semiconductors, automobile parts, pharmaceuticals and so on. ULVAC Group has net sales of 197 billion Yen and 6981 employees as of June 2012. ULVAC enhances customer satisfaction by offering total solution package not only with supply of equipments and parts but also with supply of material, foundry service, maintenance, improvement plan, etc. ULVAC is going ahead with product development in new fields other than vacuum technology and will contribute to progress of industry.

Source: SABIC


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