Industrial Bulletproof Lenses Made with New PC

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 15. January 2016

Covestro’s “extremely” impact-resistant PC used for safety glasses, face shields.


A serious occupational hazard with significant consequences for both employees and employers is the occurrence of eye injuries. According to the CDC, about 2000 workers/day in the U.S. alone suffer job-related eye injuries and require medical treatment. OSHA estimates the cost of such injuries—lost production time, medical expenses, worker compensation, to be over $300-million/yr. As such, advancements in eye protection are welcome and warranted. Check out OSHA’s eye and face protection eTool.


The development of a reportedly “extremely” impact-resistant PC from Covestro (U.S. office in Pittsburgh) for eye protection of workers appears to be an excellent breakthrough. Lenses made of the new Makrolon 3207 are lightweight and have the transparency of glass, meeting the strict requirements of MCR Safety, Collierville, Tenn., a prominent supplier of personal protective equipment. MCR’s new Crew Glasses and U.S. Safety series of safety glasses and face shields, which feature lenses made with the new PC, are also certified according to American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z871.1 standard.


Lenses made of the Makrolon 3207 PC are "industrial bulletproof" and, according to Covestro, have passed tests with 45-gram solid steel bullets fired at the lenses at speeds of 150 to 400 ft/sec. The company says such extreme test conditions are needed in order to cover all of the loads that could possibly occur during routine work and lead to eye injuries: falling or flying objects, sparks, metal slivers, wood chips, nails, or contact with harmful substances.


MCR has developed its new US Defense safety glasses primarily to meet the more stringent product safety laws in Asia, where these glasses are also produced. Says MCR Safety’s product manager David Smith, “These goggles are tough, offer premium optical quality and impact resistance, plus offer good UV protection.” He says the company, which has over 40 years of experience in setting industry standards in the personal safety equipment arena, looked for a world-class product and a partner that could deliver it, referring to the new PC and Covestro.


“Another advantage of Makrolon 3207 is the high design freedom. This allows for thinner lenses and thus greater comfort with lower production costs,” says Covestro’s Paul Lin, key account manager Taiwan.


Highlights of Body Interior Finalists of SPE Auto Innovation Awards

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 7. January 2016

Late last year, I reported in a series of blogs on the award winners of the nine categories of the 2015 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards. Just about all the finalists in each of these categories is worthy of mention, and here I’m giving the floor to some well-designed body interior applications.


Back-Mounted iPad Tablet Holder

This is featured on the Ford China Taurus D568C 2016, with four patents pending. An industry first, this seat-back mounted tablet docking station and charger allows for smooth, one-handed loading/unloading of a tablet (or other 12 V-powered devices). The unit meets OEM head-impact requirements—will not fragment or release during impact, and has a range of automatic and synchronized convenience features that are totally new to the tablet holder market. When not in use, the holder rotates downward and stows tightly in the seat back and a tambour door covers the lock if the device is not in use.


The seat back dock and the friction hinge interface are steel structures. No structural metal is used in the housing and locking mechanisms to secure the tablet. The injection molded unit’s structural exterior is made of a 15% glass-reinforced Ultramid nylon 6 from BASF, while its low-friction mechanisms are made of Delrin 500P, a medium-viscosity acetal copolymer from DuPont. The tambour door is made with high-flow 15% mineral-filled Hostacom ERC homopolymer PP and 20% mineral-filled Hostacom X M2 PP copolymer, both from LyondellBasell. The Tier 1 supplier is Lumens High Performance Lighting and Lear Corp.


Active Glove Box (AGB) System

Active Glove Box

This is featured on Ford’s 2016 Lincoln MKX CUV and represents an enhancement to Ford’s AGB technology without losing functionality or safety. Design changes included the glove box door being hand wrapped and the inner door flocked, eliminating cut lines for a separate airbag door. The occupant protection zone was increased by 35%, the inflator was precision tuned, and the bladder design was optimized, leading to a larger weld-surface area.


Key materials used for the various components of the injection molded and vacuum formed components of this system were TPOs, as well as PVC skin. Advanced Composites provided ADX 5028, a 20% talc-filled TPO with high rubber content for cold ductility, and ADX 5017, a 20% talc-filled TPO that’s stiffer than 5028, which provides a reaction surface. Mitsubishi IDK and IDC) provided TT850N, an airbag door grade TPO that performs well at high strain rates as well as hot and cold temperatures. CGT (Canadian General Tower) provided two PVC skin variants. The Tier I supplier is International Automotive Components Group.


Compact Driver’s Side Bin

Compact Driver Side Bin

An industry first, this is featured in the 2015 Ford Edge CUV and utilizes molded-in plastic features that allow for the elimination of conventional non-plastic bin and bin rail components for a driver’s side bin. Thanks to the simple, non-binding, all-plastic rail system, this bin box is quiet, fully dampened, and requires no grease. The self-centering acetal copolymer (POM) snap-in rail caps and molded-in lower stabilizing rails allow full extension of the bin drawer while providing smooth, durable function. No screws, mechanical fasteners, welding or heat staking were required in the mating process, eliminating secondary operations and lowering assembly labor.


Key materials used included two Celcon POM grades from Celanese for the latch and rail caps and ADX 5017 20% talc-filled TPO from Advanced Composites for the plastic outer door that snaps to the bin. The bin itself, with molded-in bin rails, is made of Pulse 2000EZ PC/ABS from Trinseo, while the plastic housing is a molded-in color HH1891 ABS from Ineos. The Tier I suppliers was Yanfeng USA Automotive Trim Systems.


2-Shot Molded Crash Pad Garnish with 3D Patterns

Two Shot Molded Crash Pad

This injection molded component is featured on the 2015 Hyundai Kia KX3 CUV and features a transparent PC layer with unique, low-cost 3D patterns molded-in and a second ABS layer with molded-in metallic color. This second metallic ABS layer showcases the 3D patterns molded into the transparent PC layer, creating an effect that cannot be reproduced using traditional decorative processes, such as insert-molded film, while lowering cost by 56%.


To eliminate weld and flow lines and improve the luminous appearance, the size of the hybrid metallic flake system in the ABS was optimized and a hot/cool mold process was used. The materials were provided by Samsung SDI and the Tier I was Hyundai Mobis.

10 Most-Interesting Materials Developments of 2015

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 29. December 2015

Deciding which among the 2015 blogs I posted on materials developments were the most intriguing was not an easy task. The reason: they ran the gamut from foreign industry investments in the U.S., to advances and collaborations in materials technology including novel packaging resins, biopolymers, and thermoplastic composites, and to outlooks for polyolefin. So, here’s a stab at 10 blogs that exemplify these trends.


  1. Quanex Expands With Acquisition of U.K.’s HL Plastics
  2. Foreign PE Investments Underway in North America
  3. Newly Named Wellman Advanced Materials Expands Into Auto TPOs
  4. New Family of High-Performance LLDPE-Like Resins for Packaging
  5. Coca-Cola Debuts First 100% Biobased PET Bottle
  6. Economical Direct Route to Making PLA Soon to be Employed
  7. New Industry, University Alliance’s Focus: A Recyclable Thermoplastic Auto-Suspension System
  8. Expect Graphene to Make Its Mark in Multiple Markets
  9. PE Outlook for 2016 Favors Processors
  10. Takeaway From IHS Presentation on PP


Next Generation Crosslinked PE Insulation Compound Gets R&D 100 Award

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 21. December 2015


Dow Chemicals’ Houston-based business unit Dow Electrical & Telecommunications (E&T) received a prestigious 2015 R&D 100 Award  for its third generation of TR-XLPE insulation, Dow Endurance HFDC-4202 EC. The 53-yr-old R&D 100 Awards, sponsored by R&D Magazine, Rockaway, N.J., celebrates the most significant technology inventions for the past year.


The new insulation compound was recognized for its patented formulation technology that enables improved performance through extended cable life and enhanced cable reliability, while reducing the system’s total life-cycle cost for electric utility owners.


The C-4202 compound is the “C” version and latest addition to the proven family of Dow crosslinked TR-XLDPE compounds which are premier in their use for insulation of medium-voltage (MV) underground power cables. Since the launch of the “A” version launched in 1983, followed by the “B” version in 2002, E&T has provided enough TR-XLPE compound to produce cables that circle the earth more than eight times. HFDC-4202 EC insulation for MV underground cables is said to offer:


• Enhanced electrical performance--projected longer cable life according to Accelerated Cable Life Tests and Accelerated Water Tree Tests.


• Lower and consistent insulation shield strip force for ease of installation.


• Improved heat resistance—meets 221˚F (105˚C) cable rating.


• Enhanced robustness during cable manufacturing.


• Lower total costs over the lifetime of the system.


Cables insulated with HFDC-4202 EC, meet or exceed certification requirements around the world, including: the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies (AEIC), the Insulated Cable Engineers Association (ICEA), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and Normas Mexicanas (NMX) requirements for cables rated up to 46 kV. In addition, the product meets Russian GOST R 55025 and European CENELEC standards, as well as enhanced German VDE requirements.


Car Window Technology with Integrated Lighting

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 18. December 2015


In step with the increasing trend of automakers exploring new ways to use light, SABIC has been actively aiming to develop PC windows with integrated lighting.


The company first disclosed its efforts at the 2015 International Symposium on Automotive Lighting held in late September in Darmstadt, Germany, where its showed a rear-quarter window produced through two-shot injection molding with Lexan PC and Cycoloy PC/ABS resins. It features two sets of decorative lighting components: two blue LED light pipes and a white LED guide with white laser-etched graphics—elements that are largely decorative.  


However, SABIC says integrated lighting can serve a variety of functional purposes. One potential use, illustrated by the company in a concept sketch, entails a lighting component built into a lightweight PC window which indicates the battery status of an electric or hybrid vehicle—from green for fully charged to red for critical condition. Such a feature could alert a driver to the state of battery charge without need to enter and start the vehicle.


Says Scott Fallon, senior director of SABIC’s automotive business. “Our customers are always looking for new ways to surprise and delight consumers…Combining PC glazing with lighting technologies opens up a whole new range of possibilities to help them do this.” Automakers already add lighting touches to various vehicle components—door handle pockets, side mirrors, along the interiors of doors, instrument panels, center consoles and cup holders.


As a leading developer of PC glazing for automotive windows, SABIC says that in addition to launching new an unprecedented levels of functional integration, such developments can reduce weight by up to 50% vs. comparable glass materials, depending on the complexity and design of the window part. The company envisions lighting features in windows both enabling new styling and branding solutions and displaying other kinds of useful information, beyond the battery charge status. These might include:


• Adding signature lighting or side markers on window surfaces to help better distinguish vehicle models and enhance consumer appeal.


• Using colored light for brand enhancement.


• Using window lighting to put on a show outside of the vehicle when parked, including projecting patterns or imagery on the ground.


• Displaying warning messages.


• Displaying dynamic turn indicators and hazard light signals.


• Enhancing nighttime safety.


• Allowing for animated welcome and goodbye gestures.


• Adding ambient lighting features to enhance interiors.


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