7 Apr 2008
EXATEC Expands Advanced Technology Capabilities to Offer One-Stop Shop for Auto Glazing
WIXOM, Mich. — April 7, 2008 — To help meet consumer demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles, the automotive industry is focusing on alternative glazing solutions that can lower vehicle weight and help improve fuel economy. EXATEC LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of SABIC Innovative Plastics, is broadening its range of coating technologies to offer designers new capabilities in innovative vehicle glazing with Lexan* polycarbonate (PC) resin. In support of this, EXATEC’s Wixom, Mich. global headquarters has expanded its facilities to offer enhanced process development and prototype fulfillment, particularly for large, panoramic roof systems. This investment in new process technologies will enable EXATEC to provide automotive customers with advanced product solutions and outstanding technical support.
EXATEC, which celebrated its 10th year in business on March 8, is introducing its latest technologies and capabilities, including an upgraded wet coating lab, new Engel injection molding machine, and a unique, full-scale plasma system for continuously coating polycarbonate windows.
Weight reduction is a key need for global vehicle manufacturers. CAFÉ legislation in the United States and broader CO2 reduction targets in various automobile markets around the world are driving change. Lightweight, coated PC glazing not only provides significant weight reduction, but also offers a distinctive appearance because of greater design freedom. Coating systems, including plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and wet coats that add protection and aesthetics, are key to successful polycarbonate glazing solutions.
The American Plastics Council reports that for each 10 percent reduction in the weight of a car or truck, gas mileage increases by seven percent. Plastics, which offer high performance and durability as well as lighter weight compared to steel, aluminum, and glass, may help lower fuel consumption, according to the Council. In some vehicles, the use of plastics in bumpers, body panels, lighting, fuel tanks, and other components has helped cut total vehicle weight up to 200 pounds.
“EXATEC is uniquely positioned to provide the most advanced range of coating solutions with Lexan polycarbonate resins for automotive glazing applications,” said John Madej, president of EXATEC LLC. “This expansion to our Michigan facility enables EXATEC to serve as a one-stop shop for the most advanced automotive glazing solutions available.”
New capabilities for panoramic roof glazing
Automotive components such as large panoramic roofs benefit greatly from the use of PC glazing. The addition of a panoramic roof typically doubles the weight above the beltline vs. a traditional roof, requiring enhanced vehicle suspensions and other compensatory engineering for the vehicle to maintain its performance. When that same application is built using transparent PC glazing technologies, the weight of the roof system is reduced by 40 to 60 percent. At the same time, Lexan polycarbonate glazing makes it possible to create dramatic roof designs and incorporate functionality that cannot be achieved with traditional glass while creating a distinct signature surface that can help make brands stand out from the crowd.
EXATEC operates a global technology development center located in Wixom, Mich. Key technology development includes 2K molding, silicone hardcoat development, and application methods; PECVD coatings to enhance weathering and abrasion resistance; and development of enabling technologies including defrosters, fractal antennas, and electroluminescence.
The Wixom facility offers injection compression molding with two colors; a wet coating lab for research and prototype programs in a clean room environment; the only full-scale plasma coating system; large (up to 52 in x 98 in) flat-screen printing machine, and a full testing laboratory for PC glazing.
EXATEC works with several material suppliers, including Engel for 2K injection compression molding machines, InGlass for tooling suitable for PC glazing applications, and Momentive Performance Materials for silicone hardcoats.
For more information on EXATEC glazing solutions, please visit the company’s website at www.exatec.biz.
6135 LD Sittard
Notes for editors
EXATEC LLC (www.exatec.biz) a wholly owned subsidiary of SABIC Innovative Plastics, develops advanced polycarbonate glazing systems for the automotive market. Headquartered at its state-of-the-art Advanced Technology Development Center in Wixom, Mich., EXATEC has developed patented polycarbonate coating systems that ensure market-leading weathering, durability and glass-like abrasion performance. In 2005, the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that EXATEC’s signature product, Exatec® 900-coated polycarbonate, may be used in vehicle areas specified for Item 2 glazing (safety glazing material for use anywhere in a motor vehicle except windshields), provided that the product satisfies the existing performance standards for Item 2 glazing. EXATEC was also honored with a Frost & Sullivan Technology Award for Exatec® 900 technology.
About SABIC Innovative Plastics
SABIC Innovative Plastics is a global supplier of plastic resins widely used in automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics, transportation, performance packaging, building and construction, telecommunications and optical media applications. The company manufactures and compounds polycarbonate, ABS, ASA, PPE, PC/ABS, PBT and PEI resins, as well as the LNP* line of high-performance specialty compounds, under such well known brand names as Lexan, Cycolac*, Geloy*, Noryl*, Cycoloy*, Valox* and Ultem*.
The Specialty Film and Sheet division of SABIC Innovative Plastics manufactures high-performance Lexan sheet and film products used in thousands of demanding applications worldwide. The dedicated automotive organization is an experienced, worldwide supplier, offering leading plastics solutions for five key automotive segments: body panels and glazing; under the hood applications; component; structures and interiors; and lighting.
SABIC Innovative Plastics is part of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), one of the 10 largest petrochemicals manufacturers in the world.
* Trademark of SABIC Innovative Plastics IP BV.
Media Note: The proper name of the company is SABIC Innovative Plastics, and excludes any abbreviations or variations when referring to the company. As an acronym, SABIC should be all caps whenever it appears in print.