Exhibiting for the very first time at K, Covestro has gone to enormous lengths to ensure its presence does not go unnoticed – literally. Echoing the Covestro logo, the company’s stand is circular in shape, and completely made of huge walls of transparent polycarbonate illuminated in the corporate colors. “It took ten tons of polycarbonate to make these walls”, said CEO Patrick Thomas.
The exhibits are grouped by industry and highlight developments in the automotive, construction and electronics industries, as well as new and unexpected applications in the fields of health, cosmetics, sports and fashion, in line with the theme of ‘pushing boundaries’. As Thomas pointed out, what the company was doing a mere six years ago was a ‘dream’, with most people saying it could never be done. “Now, two K Shows later, we’ve done it,” he said. “We’ve delivered on our promise. We’ve changed people’s minds about CO2, by showing them it can be a resource, an alternative feedstock for new materials. We’ve also flown around the world in a plane without using a single drop of fuel. This flying laboratory became a testing ground for our materials – and the applications are now here,” said Thomas. “This is what pushing boundaries is about,” he added.
At the K Show, all these and more are on display. Yet the true eye catcher on the stand is the new design concept for electric cars that, said Thomas, pushes ‘not one but several boundaries’. “It is electric, so it addresses issues relating to emissions, but it also pushes boundaries beyond the current materials. Using polycarbonate considerably reduces the car’s CO2 footprint,” he declared.
The project started two years ago. Working with design students and partners in the auto industry, a concept was developed using Covestro’s materials which incorporated the current trends in exterior design. Markus Steilemann, a member of the Covestro Board of Management explained: “Because it’s electric it has a different powertrain, which makes different styling possible. Today, all cars are alike in the basic technical features, so lighting plays a big role in car styling – car makes differentiate by means of lighting. Lighting drives the unique brand appearance. Polycarbonate is a perfect material for this.”
From the biobased, environmentally friendly coating of the PC body to the PC composite reinforced wheel shutters, Covestro materials have been applied all throughout. The car features a high degree of functional integration and a seamless design of the front end. The wraparound polycarbonate glazing has integrated pillars – no blind spots - and yields weight savings of 30%-50% compared to glass. Together with automotive supplier Hella, Covestro has developed an innovative solution based on holographic films, with which various light functions can be integrated into the body parts, even allowing the car to communicate with its environment. The car also offers optimized aerodynamic wheels with ‘shutters’ that can open and close for additional cooling when braking, for example.
“Our concept helps to expand electromobility, which is destined to make a major contribution to climate protection,” said Markus Steilemann, a member of the Covestro Board of Management and responsible for innovation. “These developments are pushing boundaries, offering new solutions for attractively designing comfortable, functional and energy-efficient cars. They are our way of helping customers raise the bar on styling, functional integration, profitability and sustainability.”