Sabic touts polycarbonate side windows

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: October 28, 2013 10:08 am ET
Updated: October 28, 2013 10:12 am ET

Image By: Caroline Seidel Stephen Shuler, Sabic marketing director for vehicle body systems, stands beside Volkswagen's XL1 high-efficiency hybrid car at K 2013.

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Materials, Injection Molding, K 2013, Business News & Features
Companies & Associations Sabic Innovative Plastics, Volkswagen AG

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Sabic Innovative Plastics has spent more than 10 years working to convince the auto industry to use more polycarbonate as a glass replacement for car windows.

Its Exatec LLC unit developed glazing technology to protect the plastic and ensure PC will meet safety and performance requirements. It has won some success in sunroof systems, especially in Europe, but now is making its debut on side windows, appearing on Volkswagen AG's XL1 high-efficiency hybrid car.

The XL1 was exhibited at K 2013, held Oct. 16-23 in Düsseldorf.

The hybrid uses plastics extensively, with carbon fiber used for its body and lithium-ion battery pack providing support for the electric drive. It is going into limited production at this point, with each one made at VW's Osnabrück, Germany, plant. The plug-in electric engine is supported by a diesel hybrid engine, with the two systems capable of going 100 kilometers on less than 1 liter of fuel.

The unconventional design has a streamlined shape to improve the car's aerodynamics. The driver's and passenger's seats are slightly off-center from each other to allow for a narrower car body.

The two-seat vehicle is the first vehicle to feature advanced plasma coating on two-component injection molded PC windows, Sabic said. Volkswagen said the side windows are 33 percent lighter than conventional glass, but the driver and passenger can still roll down the small windows — making them the first PC roll-down, moving windows used in the auto industry. The XL1 also uses Sabic's Lexan PC in the rear quarter windows.

Sabic has made a long-term commitment to developing PC as a real alternative for the auto industry globally. Its Exatec facility in Wixom, Mich., has full-production prototyping capabilities with molding and glazing operations.

"We're passionate about glazing in cars because of what it can do with polycarbonate in parts integration," said Scott Fallon, general manager for automotive at Sabic.

The auto industry is now beginning to catch on, thanks to demands for improved fuel economy in North America and reduced emissions in Europe.

"The challenges within the industry are all pointing things in our favor now," he said.

While the XL1 is a limited-production vehicle, it still is an important vehicle for Volkswagen, capable of bringing together multiple technologies. It is an icon for the carmaker, and Lexan and Exatec are a prominent part of it — right down to having the Exatec logo on the side windows.

Exatec will produce the windows and ship them to Germany for assembly.

"The plasma-coated windows from Sabic are one of many distinguishing features on the XL1 that help us lighten the vehicle to reduce energy consumption," said Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the board for Volkswagen's passenger-car group.

In addition to the XL1, Sabic also is showcasing a concept for an all-thermoplastic liftgate, which would come in at 30 percent lighter than a conventional tailgate. The concept would use Stamax long-glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene or Vertron long-glass-fiber-reinforced polybutylene terephthalate for structural components, Noryl GTX for the outer layer and Lexan PC with Exatec coating to replace the glass.

The total weight savings adds up to 12 kilograms (26½ pounds).

"The real benefit is in system integration," Fallon said. "We didn't just replace metal, we showed what the whole system can do."


Comments

Sabic touts polycarbonate side windows

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: October 28, 2013 10:08 am ET
Updated: October 28, 2013 10:12 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Baxter investing $300 million to expand dialyzers production in Alabama

August 29, 2014 12:53 pm ET

Baxter International, Inc. is expanding its Opelika, Ala. manufacturing location to boost production of dialyzers, a key component of hemodialysis...    More

Image

Obituary: Jerry Williams, Prism Plastics co-owner

August 29, 2014 8:50 am ET

Williams founded Prism Plastics with Rod Bricker and Gerry Phillips, after the three left Huron Plastics Group in 1999.    More

Image

EPA fines RI polymer company

August 29, 2014 1:20 pm ET

A Rhode Island polymer manufacturer has reached a $60,000 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating federal clean...    More

Image

Chinese compounders seek market shares, often at the expense of margins

August 29, 2014 10:02 am ET

China's largest compounder, Kingfa Sci. & Tech. Co. Ltd., as well as its more automotive-focused counterparts Shanghai Pret Composites Co. Ltd. and...    More

Polish injection molder Teknorubber up for sale

August 29, 2014 9:14 am ET

Polish plastic parts maker Teknorubber has been put up for sale following its insolvency filing in March 2014. The company is to be auctioned through ...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events