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News

Makrolon, the plastic that has become a technological leader

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 24 April, 2006  (Company News)
In its history spanning over 50 years, Makrolon from Bayer MaterialScience AG has established a number of key technological milestones. The plastic started life in 1958 as a housing material for the electrical industry. In the 1960s, products such as
Around 30 years ago, glazing elements made of high-transparency Makrolon solid and multi-wall sheets found a warm welcome in the construction industry. Manufacturers of eyewear too soon became interested in the splinter and break resistance of Makrolon. At the start of the 1980s, the plastic found its way into the Medical Technology sector. Today it is increasingly used in oxygenators to take over the functions of the heart and lungs during bypass or heart valve operations. In 1982, in a cooperative venture between Bayer, Philips and the record manufacturer PolyGram, the “laser-optic readable disc” was invented as a break-resistant, thermoplastic alternative to the vinyl record that also offered enhanced data security. Makrolon was used right from the outset as the substrate for the new Compact Disc. With a global market share of 30 percent, today it is the preferred high-tech material for billions of digital storage media of all kinds.

In the 1990s too, Makrolon had an important influence on a number of different branches of industry. In the automotive sector, headlamp glass was increasingly replaced by transparent, splinter-resistant, virtually break-proof and highly moldable Makrolon. 1992 saw the advent in Europe of five-gallon re-usable water bottles made of polycarbonate. The sports sector also benefited from the Bayer MaterialScience plastic. When the Bayer 04 Leverkusen football stadium was officially opened in 1997, for example, it featured a transparent, weatherproof Makrolon roof. With exceptional molding properties and UV protection, this break-resistant plastic is ideal for use in sports eyewear and helmet visors. Not without good reason has the World Bobsleigh Association been using helmets from UVEX Sports since 1987. Since 2002, all their visors have carried the “Made of Makrolon” logo.

Thanks to its exceptional properties, Makrolon also promises high innovation potential for the future. Bayer MaterialScience cooperates worldwide with partners from industry and research and is working on new or improved applications for Makrolon, e.g. on DVDs with an increased storage capacity of up to 100 gigabytes. Further possible innovations include giant screens with no dividing lines and washing labels that communicate with the washing machine.
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