Automotive

elastomeri termoplastici automotive

Polymer technology revolutionizes the automotive industry.

The future is already here There is a lot of talk about the automotive of the future, but in Covestro we want to talk about the mobility of the present and what we can do today to make vehicles better in terms of sustainability and environmental impact.

Hunting for lightness with polyurethanes and polycarbonates.

More sustainability with films, elastomers, and high tech coatings. The new polymeric materials created for the automotive industry are designed to meet the needs and requests of industry and people:

poliuretano termoplastico automotive

Lower energy consumption

Producing lighter vehicles thanks to polymeric materials is the easiest solution to save fuel. Reducing the weight by just 20 kg reduces fuel consumption by 0.5%. Polymers are the most efficient and economical answer for having lighter components.

policarbonato per vetri veicoli

Safety and well-being

Polymeric materials respond better to mechanical stresses and are therefore safer. Polycarbonate headlights, more moldable and resistant than glass, guarantee wide visibility. The polyurethane interiors have anatomical shapes that make the driving experience pleasant and protected.

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Environmental sustainability

Covestro research focuses on increasingly sustainable and high-performance products and processes. Less energy both in production and in subsequent applications. Greener materials such as hardeners that contain 70% biomass. Low solvent content coatings.

The plasticity of the polymers draws the new mobility

In the automotive sector, polymers are increasingly replacing traditional materials such as metal and alloys. We offer a wide range of materials dedicated to the automotive industry to produce:

  • outdoor elements such as bumpers, glass, finishes
  • polyester bodies such as glass and lighting
  • internal elements such as polyurethanes for seats, coverings, coatings
  • packaging for electric vehicle batteries (EVB).

We are looking for new innovative processes and unique solutions to make coatings and adhesives, thermoplastic elastomers, foams, films, composites.

Polymeric materials for vehicle exteriors

pellicole rivestimento carrozzeria
Since the early days of automotive production, glass and metal have been the dominant materials in vehicle exterior design. But today Covestro's innovative technologies offer intelligent alternatives to conventional materials. Polymer components improve efficiency, sustainability, and creative freedom in the design of a vehicle. The new materials give completely new opportunities and lighter and more aerodynamic car components are made. The automotive industry is looking for increasingly attractive models for its customers. The ductility of polycarbonate folds meekly to the requests of the designers.

Car body

Thanks to much simpler production processes than metal materials, the industry has increased the percentage of plastics in cars. Currently, about 15% of the total weight of a sedan is made up of polymers. A value destined to increase the discovery of new composite materials that improve performance and consumption.

Our advanced polyurethane systems are also found in numerous onboard applications, including lightweight but durable fenders and bumpers.

The coating raw materials developed by Covestro allow you to cover the plastic components and car bodies in one step. Some Covestro polyurethane products cure effectively at just 60 ° instead of 200 °. This reduces the energy intake by about 15% and shortens the hardening process by 30%.

Glasses: windshield, windows, rear window

Legislation recently allowed manufacturers to manufacture clear polycarbonate automotive glass instead of glass. A technique widely used in competition cars that have now passed to the consumer world. The weight of the glass surfaces is halved without compromising the strength of the structure.

Thanks to polycarbonate, in the future we can even imagine a monolithic and transparent dome instead of the usual structure of windows, pillars, and roof. The result? A panoramic view without blind spots with greater safety and completely new driving experience.

Mechanical components

The combination of polyurethane and carbon fibres creates a resistant composite material, ideal for the manufacture of complete structural components. These are all solutions that have already improved performance in racing cars for many years and which could now be applied extensively in the automotive industry. The aim is to get to lighter vehicles that reduce emissions in conventional carburetion or increase the performance of electric cars.

Lights and headlights

Lights have two fundamental purposes in the automotive sector: brand recognition and functionality.

The shape of the lighting fixtures gives a vehicle a distinctive and unmistakable appearance. Polycarbonate gives designers a high degree of design freedom. It offers car manufacturers the advantage of being cheap and simple to manufacture.

On a functional level, the polycarbonate lights are characterized by:

  • resistance: polycarbonate is extremely impact resistant. This is an important property for projectors exposed to strong gravel impacts;
  • illuminating capacity: the polycarbonate lenses focus and guide the light of the LEDs and create an optimal field of view;
  • lightness: the material weighs only half of the glass;
  • economy: it refracts light more intensely, which means that the lenses can have a thinner design that saves material;
  • precision: the injection molding process allows a level of accuracy and a high yield compared to conventional glass lenses

Interior living solutions: beauty and comfort

poliuretano automotive
Time spent in cars is on average 50 minutes per day. A vehicle must be beautiful, pleasant, as well as safe and functional. High-quality surfaces, comfortable seats, integrated technical equipment, dashboards, and ergonomic controls are required. Covestro offers versatile materials for unique interiors.

Padding

Covestro's flexible polyurethane foam car seats offer significant ergonomic advantages over seats in other materials. It is possible to differentiate the zones and make the external part of a seat more rigid than the centre. A technique that gives stability and protection together with exceptional comfort. We design increasingly lighter polyurethane foams that drastically reduce fuel consumption.

Internal surfaces

Automotive manufacturers have long used Covestro technologies to create interior upholstery. Elegant surfaces, pleasant to the touch and at the same time resistant to external stress. It is the soft-feel polyurethane coatings that give the components a great quality look and feel. Despite the thickness of a few millimetres, they also resist very well to mechanical stress.

The displays become elegant and clean with an ultra-thin polycarbonate film. It can be opaque, glossy and with a "black panel" effect which makes the instrument panel visible only when necessary.

Direct coating (skinning) technology is more efficient than conventional solutions. The internal components can be molded and coated in one step: significant savings in time and material.

Weight reduction is essential in electric cars

coating interni auto

The future of mobility is electric, but battery-powered vehicle manufacturers still face challenges and challenges. Covestro searches forever lighter materials for the automotive industry, essential for this sustainable technology to become efficient and widespread. The priority is to compensate for the high weight of batteries with ever lighter polymers.

High-tech materials contribute in various ways:

  • rigid and flexible polyurethane foams for different fields of application
  • composite structural components in polyurethane/carbon
  • polycarbonate to replace the glass.

All these technologies reduce weight and therefore increase efficiency compared to conventional materials.

Polycarbonate increases safety and gives protection and insulation

Polycarbonate has many advantages when it comes to protecting the battery. The housings made of this plastic are an exceptional shield against both low temperatures and fire.

Also, polycarbonate is a better insulator than glass and this property is perfect for the needs of electric mobility. In fact, in electric cars, interior heating cannot take advantage of the engine heat but is generated by the battery. So a better-insulated vehicle reduces the energy demand to be heated: the battery lasts longer and increases the autonomy of the vehicle.

For its economic and resistance properties and its thermal qualities, polycarbonate finds a perfect application also for electric mobility recharging stations.