Covestro develops matte, formable hardcoat films

  • Use of matte film grades on the rise
  • Polycarbonate film features good forming properties thanks to pre-cured coating
  • Applications: automotive interiors, electronics, IT

Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has developed scratch-resistant, formable hardcoat films for the decorative design of component surfaces in automotive interiors. After high-gloss films with a piano finish proved successful, the use of matte film grades is now on the rise. At the Fakuma trade show, the company is introducing Makrofol HF polycarbonate films with various matte levels.

From matte, finely textured surfaces to deep matte grades

The films range from matte, finely textured surfaces with a high level of diffusion, to glare-free films and deep matte grades. At an angle of 60°, these matte products display a gloss level of just 1.9 units when backprinted black. The finely textured matte films achieve gloss levels between 70 and 75 under the same conditions.

Good forming properties thanks to pre-cured coating

Matte films can easily be printed, formed or back-injected in a film insert molding process, just like their high-gloss counterparts. The good formability, even with small radii of curvature and high depth of draw, are due to the special coating layer, which is based on a dispersion coating that is only pre-cured. The forming process precedes final curing with conventional UV lamps. The three-dimensional crosslinking of the coating lends the films their high scratch and abrasion resistance. The films are also resistant to sun protection products and chemicals.

Three-dimensional matte and scratch-resistant surfaces

With the help of these pre-cured films, manufacturers can produce interior components with three-dimensional matte and scratch-resistant surfaces, and still dispense with the costly and complex coating step. In addition to using Makrofol HF in automotive interior design, for instance for side fascia, Covestro also sees opportunities for its application in consumer electronics, IT equipment and in combination with printed polymer electronics.

Market-based developments in three competence centers

Covestro offers a wide range of polycarbonate, thermoplastic elastomer and specialty films. Three technology centers in Germany support the development activities: The Competence Center for Blown Film Technology in Bomlitz, for Flat Films in Dormagen and for Film Coatings in Leverkusen. The matte and high-gloss coated polycarbonate films described above are developed and produced at the Competence Center for Film Coatings in Leverkusen.

Multi-layer thermoplastic elastomer films are the core activity at the center in Bomlitz. In addition to large-scale plants, Covestro also operates a pilot facility for multi-layer blown films, which are used, for example, in medical applications as well as the automotive and textile industries.

Main Picture: Covestro has developed scratch-resistant, formable hardcoat films for the decorative design of component surfaces in automotive interiors (source: Covestro)

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