BASF develops hard-wearing transparent plastic for backlit switches

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A semi-crystalline polyamide from German chemical producer BASF has been used in a car interior for the first time. Ultramid Vision was used in the window regulator module of a German automobile manufacturer thanks to its high light transmission with low light scattering properties, perfect conditions for use with the illuminated symbols on the window regulators and exterior mirrors.

Thanks to its unique characteristics profile, the polyamide is ideal for semi-transparent and translucent components. Its high UV and temperature resistance, scratch resistance and chemical resistance make Ultramid Vision an important building block wherever visual control or light design play a role. In multi-component injection molding processes, it can be easily combined with other polyamide materials. This enables easy production of multifunctional components with transparent or illuminated areas.

Dr. Rainer Xalter, product developer in the performance materials division at BASF, said, “Ultramid Vision demonstrates good adhesion to the switch housing, which consists of glass fiber-reinforced polyamide. This was an important argument in favor of using Ultramid Vision. A further selection criterion was the homogeneous light transmittance. The requirement was to allow as much light to pass through as possible, with high color fidelity of the transmitted light.”

As the material can be repeatedly exposed to aggressive media such as sun cream, cleaning agents and solvents without sustaining damage, it is ideally suited for backlit switches or buttons. This essential advantage over amorphous, transparent materials also impressed the French interior specialist Valeo. The product was jointly developed to production maturity and will now be used by a large automobile manufacturer.

“Due to its excellent properties, Ultramid Vision was a focus for us from the outset,” said Sebastian Laukat, project manager at Valeo. “The balanced characteristics profile in terms of mechanics and processability in conjunction with the high scratch resistance and UV stability were ultimately the decisive factors.”

Want to know more about this technology? BASF will be exhibiting at Automotive Interiors Expo in Novi later this month. Entry to the exhibition is free, so get your badge now! BASF will be at booth A526.

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Dan joined UKi Media & Events in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As deputy editor, he now produces content for Meteorological Technology International, Automotive Interiors World and Autonomous Vehicle International and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue.

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