The Peugeot-Citroën Group is now using plastic glazing made from Teijin’s Panlite polycarbonate resin in the rear quarter windows (“quarter lite”) of the Citroen DS5, a five-door hatchback unveiled at the 2011 Shanghai Motor Show. The technology was developed with freeglass GmbH Co., which describes itself as the world market leader in plastic glazing.
The quarter window is manufactured by molding a transparent glazing and a black gloss pillar cover into an integrated piece by multi-component injection-compression and then applying hard-coating on both the internal and external sides for superior durability. Glazing weight has been reduced by 20% compared to a conventional glazing solution.
Teijin Chemicals says it is now developing, in cooperation with freeglass, a new hard-coating technology that will improve weather- and wear-resistance for even wider use in vehicles.
Teijin Chemicals’ Mobility Business Project owns one of the world’s largest multi-component rotary injection-compression molding machines with 4-axis parallelism control, enabling the production of 1.7 square-meter single-piece molds for multi-component panoramic roof systems and body panels.
The announcement marks a steady, but not spectacular, advancement of polycarbonate automotive glazing, a project often associated with Bayer and Sabic Innovative Plastics, the two leading polycarbonate producers in the world. Sabic focuses on North American and Asian projects with a plasma coating technology, while Bayer focuses on Europe, which has embraced a wet-coating approach.
Sabic’s Wixom, MI facility offers injection compression molding with two colors in a 2,400 ton Engel machine; a wet coating lab for research and prototype programs in a clean room environment; the only full-scale plasma coating system in the world; a large (up to 52 in x 98 in) flat-screen printing machine, and a full testing laboratory for PC glazing. Exatec is Sabic Innovative Plastics’ dedicated automotive glazing subsidiary.
Suppliers hope electric vehicles will give the PC glazing concept a boost.
A roof module with glazing and integrated solar modules developed as a prototype component and concept study by Webasto AG, for example, weighs just 20 kilograms. The roof module’s low weight is due to the lightweight panoramic panel. This consists of the transparent polycarbonate Makrolon AG2677, developed by Bayer MaterialScience.
New research from Sabic shows important thermal insulation qualities of PC glazing.