DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY (Nov. 26, 10 a.m. EST) — Bayer MaterialScience AG's impact on the automotive world was clear at K 2007 in Dusseldorf.
Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer displayed what officials said is the largest clear polycarbonate auto roof ever put into production — a 12.9-square-foot part for the 2007 Opel Zafira.
The roof frame is made by spraying a PU system onto a mold, then adding long-glass fiber for stiffness and impact strength, according to Olaf Zollner, senior manager of PC injection molding technologies.
“In this case, polyurethane is the most economical material because of the length of the part,” he said.
PC auto roofs covering as much as 17.2 square feet have been developed as prototypes, but are not yet in production, Zollner added. He said he believes PC roofs as large as 18.3 square feet eventually can be made.
Bayer's zaZen concept car, a vehicle that uses more than 1,500 pounds of polycarbonate and other materials made by Bayer, was on display as well. The vehicle has PC body and fender panels, PC film on its headlights and an ethanol-fueled motor, according to Theodor Engbert, head of marketing for the firm's coatings, adhesives and sealants.
The zaZen — made by design firm Rinspeed Inc. of Zumikon, Switzerland — also features a one-piece PC dome and touch-panel buttons for many of its operations. The car “shows the possibilities that exist” in many other functions, Engbert said.
Bayer also is using spray-in mold technology to make colorful parts for jet-skis and other water sports equipment, said PU structural parts head Stephan Schleiermacher. The PU parts are filled with long-glass fiber to provide strength and durability, he said.
Bayer MaterialScience ranks as one of the world's largest makers of PC and other engineering resins. The business is a unit of global chemical leader Bayer AG.
In the first half of 2007, Bayer MaterialScience contributed 5.2 billion euros (US$6.8 billion) to Bayer AG's total sales — a 31 percent share. The unit's first-half sales were up almost 4 percent from the same period in 2006.