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Automotive: Exatec to expand glazing-development lab

Polycarbonate (PC) glazing technology supplier Exatec LLC (Wixom, MI) has expanded its facility to boost process and prototype development, especially for the growing application of large, panoramic roofs, where PC can cut the system weight by 40 to 60% versus the established glass alternatives. Now a wholly owned subsidiary of Sabic Innovative Plastics after that company bought out former partner Bayer MaterialScience, Exatec celebrates its 10th anniversary on March 8 and will hold an open house to mark the occasion and to introduce new development investments. Among the new hardware on display will be an upgraded wet-coating lab, an Engel injection molding machine, and a full-scale plasma system to continuously coat PC windows. The Engel machine features two-component technology and a compression molding function used for glazing. The wet-coating lab is contained in a clean-room environment, and the lab also features a large flat-screen printing machine that can handle components measuring up to 52 by 98 inches.
At an open house in late 2007 marking the North American introduction for the Qarmaq concept car which emphasized PC and other engineering thermoplastics for automotive, Greg Adams, VP for automotive at Sabic, said there are a number of commercial applications in Europe utilizing PC glazing, with increasing interest elsewhere. “We see the OEMs in different phases,” Adams said, “but they are dipping a toe in the water.” In North America, General Motors uses PC glazing in the Corvette “T” top.—[email protected]
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