Sheffield Plastics Inc. has introduced one-way-mirror Makrofol films with a metallic appearance - either bright or low-luster matte - and transparent backlighting opportunities.
``In both cases, the top surface is polycarbonate,'' said Patrick Griffin, senior technical service engineer with the subsidiary of Bayer MaterialScience LLC. ``The second surface is a print-receptive coating that allows [a customer] to screen print on the surface and also acts as an adhesion promoter for various injection molding resins.''
Bayer and Sheffield exhibited molded examples of the new Makrofol films during the Industrial Designers Society of America's Connecting'07 event, Oct. 17-20 in San Francisco.
The nonconductive, three-dimensional films are being produced at a Sheffield plant in Berlin, Conn. The operation extrudes and metalizes the PC. A customer can screen print a message on the second surface and either pressure form the film into a part or create a preform for later injection molding into a part.
``We received a lot of inquiries looking for bright metallic surfaces where they wanted to avoid electroplating or the use of heavy metals,'' which are necessary in vapor metalization, Griffin said. The interest reflects pressure to respond to ongoing environmental issues.
One customer plans to use the material in a consumer electrical product for possible introduction in 2008's first quarter; the other uses an opaque substrate for an automotive exterior component that may reach the market in 2008's third quarter.
The process allows for a variety of colors including blue metallics, golds and coppers.
The Makrofol 3-D metal-alloy PC films have potential for use in appliances and medical electronics ``where the customer wants a bright metallic surface but does not want heavy metals or the blocking of electronic signals.''
The bright metallic film is available in thicknesses of 0.008 inch or 0.013 inch; the low-luster film comes only in 0.008 inch.