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Coating Systems for a Superior Finish

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 02 August, 2001  (Company News)
Innovative high-performance communications equipment makes easy work of various office tasks and is bringing new impetus to the stock markets. In the future, thanks to Bayer's coatings specialists, equipment will also be designed to appeal to the senses using special-effect and soft-feel coatings.
These waterborne polyurethane coatings based on Bayer raw materials not only provide color but also a pleasant feel, and give greater scope for design than pigmented plastics.

On telephones, computers, printers and faxes - the colorful polyurethane coatings add a distinctive touch. High-grade plastic housings can be given a sophisticated metallic finish, while cellular phones can be made more pleasant to the touch with a soft-feel coating. The hardness and elasticity of the coatings can be customized for individual applications.

Explains Dr. Frank Kobor, Head of Bayer's Competence Center Plastics Coating: 'We can customize all the properties required in plastics coatings - for virtually all types of applications. Our researchers are working on converting the know-how we have accumulated in the finishing of plastic components in the automotive industry for use in industrial applications, i.e. in the manufacture of consumer goods. There is a special focus on soft-feel coatings to produce a pleasant, warm and velvety surface.'

Although soft-feel coatings are not yet widely used in industrial finishing applications, they are popular in the automotive industry worldwide for use in car passenger compartments on most standard models, where applications include center consoles and door handle cups. Selection of the right coating system and formulation ensures that the mechanical properties of the plastics used are not compromised, a key test criterion in automotive and industrial applications.

Waterborne polyurethane coatings for plastics based on Bayer's Bayhydur® and Bayhydrol® raw materials yield a surface finish that satisfies stringent tests in respect of optical properties, mechanical strength and chemical resistance.

Last year Bayer Corporation was awarded the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the development of waterborne coating systems for industrial applications. The eco-friendly waterborne two-component polyurethane coatings can reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds and harmful air pollutants by 90 percent or more.
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