VisionWorks – Design projects become reality with plastics
Bayer MaterialScience at Plast’06 in Milan
Tuesday - February 14, 2006, Milan – After moving to the new exhibition site in Milan, Plast’06, one of Europe’s biggest plastics fairs, is now an outstanding strategic venue for the markets of southern and central Eastern Europe. It is particularly in these regions that Ciro Piermatteo, the stand manager for Bayer MaterialScience’s presentation at Plast’06, sees excellent growth potential for the company’s products. “Plast’06 is located right in the heart of the design and fashion city of Milan, and is thus an important meeting place for creativity and technology,” says the designer and Color Technology Development Manager. “Bayer MaterialScience, as a manufacturer of innovative and technologically mature polymers, is exactly the right partner for customers who want to turn their ideas into reality with high-tech materials.” This message is also reflected on the exhibition stand itself (Hall 24, Stand B34), where the exhibits will be showcased under the motto “VisionWorks in Polycarbonates and Thermoplastic Polyurethanes”.
One important field of activity for the plastics industry is medical technology. In 2004, some 75,000 tons of polycarbonate were processed into medical articles – and this figure is rising. “We expect sales of our Makrolon® polycarbonate in the medical segment to grow consistently at an above-average rate over the next few years,” says Markus Krieter, an expert for medical technology in Bayer MaterialScience’s Polycarbonates Business Unit. One example of this application are the pressure-resistant Makrolon® ampoules for the needle-free injection system InjexTM from Rösch, where the pharmaceutical product is rapidly injected at very high pressure under the skin without pricking it. Apart from that, the new trend towards self-medication continues unabated. It may soon be possible to replace fusions and injections normally administered in an outpatient clinic or hospital by medication that the patient can administer himself by means of an inhaler. “Because of its excellent dimensional stability, high mechanical load-bearing capacity and break resistance, Makrolon® is ideal for the manufacture of the highly stressed, compact precision parts of the inhalers. These inhalers, which can contain up to 120 portions of active ingredient, are rugged enough for everyday use and deliver excellent long-term functional performance,” says Krieter.
Another major field of use for polycarbonate is vehicle windows. The proven Makrolon® louver roof in the present Mercedes-Benz A Class, for example, is now also employed in the Mercedes-Benz B Class. Its five transparent gray-tinted louvers are made of Bayer MaterialScience’s special polycarbonate grade, Makrolon® AG 2677. The innovative panorama roof was developed by Webasto AG, who also supply the complete subassembly. “We decided on polycarbonate for the louver material because, compared with a straight steel solution, we save around 3.5 kg in weight and have far more freedom in the design of the three-dimensional component. Apart from that, polycarbonate has excellent stone chip resistance and does not splinter in the event of a crash, unlike glass. This means greater passenger safety,” says Ralf Schwaighofer, group manager for plastics technology at Webasto.
Equally well-known in the automotive industry is the thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), Texin®, a product from Bayer MaterialScience LLC (USA), which was used for making the backlite of the BMW Z8 Roadster. A further development of this grade, namely Texin® DP 3041, is used to produce flexible tent windows, where it is noted particularly for its outstanding scratch resistance. It also ensures that the high transparency of the windows is retained over the long term. “We have optimized the material in such a way that, when heated up by the sun, it goes slightly soft and any unevenness is leveled out. Small scratches therefore heal virtually on their own,” explains Jürgen Winkler, TPU specialist at Bayer MaterialScience, who helped to develop the material. On top of this, the material does not contain any plasticizers, giving the windows permanent flexibility. PVC windows, on the other hand, become brittle over the years because the plasticizer migrates out of the plastic over the course of time. Another advantage of TPU compared with PVC is its high flexural fatigue strength and buckling resistance. This ensures that no unsightly cracks or cloudiness appear when the windows are bent by folding up the tent. This property, together with the absence of plasticizers, also makes TPU the logical choice for raincovers for kiddies’ prams. “Texin® DP 3041 is also an optimum solution for party tents and large marquees. The companies who hire them out frequently complain about the considerable extra costs incurred for the regular replacement of windows that have gone cloudy,” says Jens Ufermann, a marketing specialist for TPU at Bayer MaterialScience. Another strong argument in favor of a broader application of this material is the fact that it can be easily colored in any shade.
While on the subject of colors, the Fantasia® line from Bayer MaterialScience has been developed specifically for the coloring of plastics, primarily polycarbonates. Numerous color variants and surface effects can be achieved with the five basic technologies: Aura, Faria, Imagio, Leda and Milena. To facilitate the search for the best product from the extensive Fantasia® range, in terms of both quality and economy, the Bayer MaterialScience Color Competence Center in Filago, not far from Milan, offers a comprehensive range of services extending from assistance in selecting the colors and effects to full project partnerships. This ensures that, by using the optimum process, the customer obtains a finished product with a modern design and attractive colors and surface effects.
With sales of EUR 8.6 billion in 2004, Bayer MaterialScience AG belongs to the leading polymer companies in the world. The majority of sales today are generated by products holding leading positions in the world market. Industries served include automotive manufacturing, electrical engineering and electronics, construction and home products, and sports and leisure. Bayer MaterialScience has 40 production sites around the globe and employs some 17,900 people.
More news and information about products, applications and services of Bayer MaterialScience can be found at www.bayerbms.com.
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