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Innovative materials and applications drive seamless mobility forward

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K 2019 may be over, but we’re continuing to focus on the future of mobility. At the show, we unveiled a new automotive interior concept that transforms how we work by seamlessly shifting from a mobile office to meeting space. Whether you joined us in Düsseldorf, Germany or followed along from afar, we invite you to hop in and learn about the materials driving innovation.

In our last issue, we talked about the trends that inspired us to push the boundaries of personal transportation. Now, we’ll show how these trends came to life in our new interior concept—a multifunctional mobile living space that can take you through your entire day—from driving, to connecting with others, to relaxing.

As you read on, you will notice a number of our materials play a role in what’s next for automotive interiors—from applications that will soon take the industry to the next level to those that will change the passenger experience in years to come. Get ready for a journey in the car interior of the future.


Video multifunctional interior concept

Slim and stylish seating

We demonstrated how a traditional vehicle seat will transform the interior into a mobile living space with added functionality. Our slim, lightweight seat concept incorporates lighting for a modern, stylish look yet is also comfortable and safe. Custom settings for lighting, seat position and comfort create a personalized experience for passengers. Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and displays can further enhance infotainment.

Our polycarbonate and Maezio™ thermoplastic composites lend strength and a luxurious look to the seat back. This component is also pleasant to the touch thanks to waterborne coatings made with Bayhydur® polyisocyante crosslinkers and Bayhydrol® polyurethane dispersions. Additionally, translucent Insqin® technology gives the seat a quality appearance, with reduced costs and reduced environmental impact due to lower VOCs. Finally, the seat cushion utilizes Desmodur® and Hyperlite® foams, while translucent Desmodur® AF41 allows light to shine through.

Lightweight and attractive table

The table is a new interior component designed to meet changing passenger needs. As drivers become passengers, they need a flexible interior cabin that is adapted for new activities, such as working while in motion. Our interior concept features a table that can be moved when not in use for saved space. This lightweight table is made possible with Maezio™ thermoplastic composites, which enable a very thin, stiff, yet extremely stiff design with low constructed space as well as superior surface quality.

Secluded and soothing sanctuary

Ridesharing vehicles mean new mobility requirements (think: privacy). With our moveable privacy dome prototype, passengers can enjoy a personalized experience separate from others. This peace and quiet is attributed to Baynat® noise cancelling acoustic foam, which blocks out sounds while improving passenger comfort, ambience and interior acoustics. Additionally, passengers can relax with soothing audio, like the sound of waves crashing on the beach.


Video about the Privacy Dome in its interior concept.

 

Customizable and eye-catching displays

Comfort, privacy and security get a boost with our full polycarbonate-based smart glazing system with an electronically controlled fail-safe privacy mode. This system features Makrolon® AG polycarbonate and Makrofol® polycarbonate films and is used in our hybrid display that seamlessly integrates functional displays with interior surfaces and transparent windows. The display is projected by beamer technology, while switch view technology allows passengers to shift from opaque privacy mode to a clear window view with minimal power draw from the car battery.

The views don’t stop there. Our interior concept also features a 3D curved display utilizing polycarbonate. This material helps create complex curves and geometries not possible with conventional materials while providing passengers with dreamy yet functional views. The innovative new 3D display utilizes Makrolon® Ai polycarbonate and Makrofol® HF film. It delivers a solution with high optical quality, a combination of different surface technologies and processing capabilities with large optical parts using injection compression molding.

Innovative and inviting surface and lighting technologies

With future interiors will come demands for functional surfaces with a premium look and feel. We can create an inviting environment using interior trim parts that combine natural materials with our materials. Options include transparent or translucent Makrolon® Ai polycarbonate, laminates of Makrolon® polycarbonate and INSQIN® technology.

New lighting applications will also emerge—including functional lights for passenger-car communication—but will maintain a homelike ambience. We showcased new possibilities for future surfaces combined with LED backlights or edgelights. Our Makrolon® polycarbonate is partly used as a light guide in combination with new light outcoupling technologies. For example, Makrolon® Ai polycarbonate enables a black translucent surface that allows light to be seen clearly while the black color remains the same.

We’re harnessing our rich automotive expertise, material and technology solutions in collaborations with industry partners to drive future innovation. Together, we will take the in-car experience to the next level.

Jochen Hardt

Global marketing mobility, Covestro.

Durable and ambient flooring

The floors of future vehicles will enable greater design freedom, integrate ambient lighting, and must be easy to clean and durable to withstand the daily wear and tear. Our flooring concept can be used in combination with natural materials for a more pleasant, home-like ambience. It also utilizes paper honeycomb or expanded polycarbonate (EPC) covered by Baypreg® GF for strength at a reduced weight. Additionally, it also involves films using Makrofol®, printed with a marble or wood pattern, laminated by Platilon® TPU hotmelt film and finished with a highly resistant waterborne PU coating  using Bayhydur® and Bayhydrol®, providing durability and a customizable finish.

Multifunctional interior concept

Decorative and colorful dashboard

We collaborated with industry partners to develop a new skin for dashboard panels, the main part of which is based on an aromatic Bayflex® spray polyurethane colored by a light-stable in-mold coating. The upper surface features our translucent INSQIN® material for a backlight effect. Lastly, the lower portion of the dashboard utilizes a sprayskin surface that is combined with a foamed layer. The end result: a highly durable, multicolor dashboard skin that opens the door to enhanced design freedom.

Functional and reliable overhead console

Fully functional smart surfaces with touch controls, lighting and other electronics change how passengers interact with the vehicle. Visible parts must be functional, reliable and aesthetically pleasing. Traditional electronics can be transformed to thin, low-profile, lightweight structures without compromising function. For example, our overhead console demonstrates how printed electronics and components can be combined to create a single structural part using double-sided film insert molding technology.

The front side features a hard-coated Makrofol® HF film with the decorative print on the backside, the uncoated Makrofol® DE film is printed with conductive inks and carries the electric components. Both film are shaped and trimmed to film inserts, before Makrolon® Ai 2217 polycarbonate is injected between the two films inserts.

Multifunctional interior concept

Quiet yet comfortable interior

Polyurethane systems are key for weight reduction, passenger comfort and insulation. These materials help improve acoustics, which is especially important as car interiors become a place for work, entertainment, rest and relaxation. OEMs can enhance passenger comfort and reduce interior noise by directly applying our Bayfit® acoustic insulation foam to open cavities of the chassis.

Adjustable and draft-free air flow

While the air flow inside a vehicle can impact comfort, we’re helping passengers take control with an adjustable, draft-free vent. The ventilation and temperature control strip communicates intuitively to passengers using blue and red lighting. It can also be a source of ambient lighting for a soothing experience. Transparent Makrolon® polycarbonate enables the touch function for temperature control, while Bayblend® polycarbonate blends offer stiffness, dimensional stability and temperature resistance. Both of these polycarbonate materials are also used for the vent’s decorative housing.

For more information, visit www.solutions.covestro.com/en/materials/plastics or email plastics@covestro.com.

Makrolon®, INSQIN®, Bayfit®, Bayhydur®, Bayhydrol®, Makrofol®, Bayflex®, Desmodur®, Hyperlite® and Bayblend® are registered trademarks of the Covestro Group. Maezio™ is a trademark of the Covestro Group.

  • New applications drive automotive forward—from concept to mass production.
  • New solutions take the design, production and in-car experience to the next level.
  • Smart functionality will adapt to individual workday needs.

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