Bayer MaterialScience (Leverkusen, Germany; Pittsburgh, Pa., USA) has announced the introduction of its DirectSkinning technology, a new production process that improves cost efficiency in the production of injection molded parts in a single step. It has now been used for the first time with an aliphatic polyurethane material in the series production of vehicle interior parts.
As part of a technology project devoted to the DirectSkinning process, fischer automotive systems GmbH and Bayer MaterialScience AG have been successful in jointly developing a decorative panel that is now manufactured in series production. The component seals off a kinematic drawer located on the dashboard of the BMW 5 Gran Turismo series directly above the central console.
The approximately 1.4-mm/0.06-inch thick covering for the panel is based on the polyurethane system Bayflex LS (Light Stable) from BaySystems. BaySystems is the global umbrella brand for the polyurethane systems operations of Bayer MaterialScience. The system used was specially developed for the DirectSkinning process. The panel is produced in five colors, including ivory white, light beige and gray.
“Our polyurethane systems meet the growing demand for light colors in vehicle interiors as they deliver lasting UV resistance and color fastness. They also give the surfaces a high level of scratch and abrasion resistance,” says Gregor Murlowski, a polyurethanes expert at Bayer MaterialScience. The panel’s thermoplastic substrate consists of the heat- and impact-resistant polycarbonate acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (PC/ABS) blend Bayblend T85.
Parts produced in this way require very little secondary finishing. The thickness and color of the polyurethane layer can be varied over a broad range. As the component is produced in a single mold, DirectSkinning does not require a separate coating system, in contrast to traditional methods. “The investment and space needed for the machines are reduced accordingly. Transportation and interim storage of the fresh injection moldings become a thing of the past, simplifying logistical processes and minimizing the risk of contamination and damage,” says Rainer Protte, who is responsible for the development of special injection molding processes at Bayer MaterialScience.