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A stylish finisher

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 08 November, 2004  (Company News)
The Mercedes-Benz CLS Class has just celebrated its market launch. What is more, the car comes with a unique B-post finisher which is a perfect accompaniment to the dynamic and elegant bodywork of the new four-door coup
Freeglass, a company based in Schwaikheim, Germany, manufactures the finisher using innovative technologies in a two-component injection molding process involving two grades of the polycarbonate (PC) Makrolon® from Bayer MaterialScience AG.

The post finisher comes into direct view particularly when opening the door and getting into the car. Visually, it appears to be made of dark-colored glass. Given its position between the front and rear side windows, this makes it a design element that contributes to the sleek appearance of the side section of the coupé. Experts speak of the 'glass-like quality' of the component which is a result of the two-layer structure consisting of a transparent Makrolon® Automotive Glazing grade and a black Makrolon® grade for optical applications. Moreover, the surface of the transparent and coated polycarbonate is extremely smooth.

'Primarily due to the optimized cooling behavior of the injection mold, it has been possible to meet the exacting demands in terms of the visual reflection properties of the post finisher,' says Engelbert Meurer, an expert from Bayer MaterialScience.

First of all, IR cameras were used to identify areas of the component that had not cooled properly ('hot spots'). A particular problem lay in the area of the groove for the sealing edges. To solve this problem, CONTURA® technology from Contura MTC GmbH was employed. This technology enables injection molds to be produced whose cooling channels precisely match the contours of the component. The result is even dissipation of heat from the mold, not only reducing stresses in the component but also minimizing differences in the level of reflection and shine of the surface. An additional factor that assists in optimum temperature control is the use by Freeglass GmbH & Co. KG of swivel platen technology for two-component injection molding since this offers excellent cooling performance.

A siloxane coating ensures that the post finisher is UV-stable and scratch-resistant. Freeglass is one of the few suppliers to the automotive industry in the world that injection molds PC glazing and applies a protective coating at a single production facility.

'Makrolon® is an ideal material for post finishers due not only to its visual properties, but also to its very high heat resistance,' says Frank Schiemann, Key Account Manager at Bayer MaterialScience. The component is affected neither by heat from direct sunlight nor by the temperatures encountered when applying the protective coating.

Several functions are also integrated into the finisher such as mounts for the sealing lips and a centering lug as well as two 'eyes' for the screw connections used to mount the component on the metal B-post.
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