Exatec, a wholly owned subsidiary of engineering plastics supplier SABIC Innovative Plastics, and ULVAC, a leader in mass-production
vacuum technologies, announced yesterday (July 21) their collaboration to accelerate cost-effective, high-volume production of weatherable, scratch-resistant, plasma-coated Lexan polycarbonate (PC) resin for vehicle windows. Under the agreement, ULVAC will manufacture turnkey mass production systems that leverage its expertise in high-volume vacuum equipment and Exatec’s proprietary plasma coating technology.
The combined ULVAC and Exatec technologies will help automakers and tiers replace heavier glass windows with Lexan resin glazing to meet upcoming regulations for lower CO2 emissions and also provides greater design freedom and cost reduction through parts consolidation. It also offers other industries–particularly consumer electronics–durable and abrasion-resistant coating solutions for a broad range of products. Automakers interested in expanding production of PC windows using Exatec technology will soon be able to order machinery from ULVAC.
More stringent vehicle emission restrictions are planned in major automotive markets. In the United States, new rules mandate that by 2016, vehicles must get an average of 35.5 miles per gallon. In Europe, mandatory reductions of CO2 emissions aim to reach 130gCO2/km (.46lbs/mile) in 2015 for the average new car fleet, and 95g/km (.35lbs/mile) by 2020.
The joint solution created by Exatec and ULVAC combines two highly advanced technologies and optimizes them for large-scale production. Exatec’s plasma coatings for Lexan PC provide weatherability and abrasion resistance to ensure crystal-clear, attractive and durable glazing over the life of the vehicle. ULVAC’s advanced vacuum equipment technologies enable this coating system to be scaled up for production; they feature a high deposition rate, a continuous process and the ability to coat parts with complex shapes and a wide range of sizes. Together, the companies have optimized this system for exceptional quality, consistency and throughput.
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