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A new generation of automotive front-end modules: a seamless glass surface with polycarbonate

Time: 2018-12-24

A new generation of automotive front-end modules: a seamless glass surface with polycarbonate

The front end of the future car will feature a three-dimensional, seamless and glass-like surface – the classic radiator grille will be eliminated. “Automakers want to design models that are different from their competitors as independently as possible, which is not only their desire,” explains Stefan Schulten. “It also involves integrating more and more functions in less and less space."

With a variety of decorative or translucent film films, the front end portion can be designed in a variety of ways. In addition, there are functions required for communication between autonomous vehicles and pedestrians, such as lighting and signal functions. A special variant is the black panel technology, in which a special Makrofol polycarbonate film incorporates a light source.

The structure of the front-end module prototype consists of a film printed with a color pattern, such as the company logo, depending on the customer's requirements. The classic metal logo was replaced by a more modern version.

Molding was then carried out using a transparent Makrolon AG polycarbonate using Film Insertion Technology (FIM). The smooth surface and the depth of the polycarbonate create a glassy look. In addition, despite the use of Makrofol film, a three-dimensional effect is produced. A transparent scratch-resistant silicone hard coat is also used for the outermost layer.

This combination of polycarbonate resin and film and coating creates a lightweight, versatile component with ideal automotive appearance. It can also be glass-like in design, embedded in a multi-dimensional structure, which can be amplified by the light function. The structure allows for infiltration of radar and lidar radiation, and also allows for the integration of further functions such as embedded heating wires for deicing.

At the upcoming trade show in Germany, Covestro will present an innovative front-end module concept with individual design and high-performance integration. One of these is the black panel technology, in which a Makrofol polycarbonate film is equipped with a light source behind it.