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Great potential for use in headlight components with complex geometries & subject to high thermal loads

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 29 March, 2006  (Company News)
Bayer MaterialScience AG has registered six easy-flow developmental products from the Apec line of copolycarbonates as sales products.
At the same time, we are highlighting our development capabilities as the sole supplier of these copolycarbonates, which offer greater heat resistance than standard polycarbonate, said Axel Sandquist, Senior Sales Manager for Apec at the Polycarbonate Business Unit.

Apec has proved itself in headlight components subjected to such high thermal loads that standard polycarbonate cannot be used. It is available in grades with different levels of heat resistance ranging from 155 to 220 C. Typical components include metallized frames, reflectors for turn signals and high beams and also lenses for fog lights. Apec is used in compact, mid-sized and full-sized models, as well as in the luxury segment. The various transparent, metallized and opaque colored components in the headlights of the Volkswagen Golf are one current example. The complete headlights are manufactured by Automotive Lighting, a systems supplier for automotive exterior lighting, in its Brotterode plant near Eisenach, Germany.

The current trend is toward headlights with additional lighting systems, such as active headlights or daytime running lights. As a result, the headlight frame, also called the bezel has to include additional recesses for mounting these systems. This increases the size of the bezel and makes its geometry more complex. There is great potential for the use of our easy-flow Apec grades here, said Sandquist.

The improved flowability brings with it a number of advantages for the processor: Components can be designed with thinner walls using thin-wall technology, resulting in lower material consumption and reduced weight. Shorter cooling times result in correspondingly shorter cycle times. It is also easier to realize intricate part geometries. We were able to increase flowability without compromising the accustomed high property level of Apec, explained Sandquist.

The yellowness index of both the easy-flow and standard grades of Apec was also improved, enabling the increasing demand for grades shaded blue, gray or brown to be met.

Another important area of application for Apec besides lighting engineering is medical technology. Apec 1745, with a heat resistance of 170 C (Vicat B), has been particularly successful in this field. It easily withstands hot-steam sterilization at 134 and 143 C, and is used to manufacture such things as components for surgical instruments, section containers and syringe adapters.
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