Covestro’s high-performance polycarbonates and specialty films for interior and exterior automotive applications enable ambient lighting, customization, and autonomous driving functionalities. Covestro has developed solutions that enable seamless integration of LiDAR behind glass-like surfaces.

Displays and operating panels protected by the scratch-resistant, glare-resistant films allow new lighting effects and seamless integration of functions into the instrument panel. The firm’s Makrofol HF products in high-gloss or matte grades are formable in three dimensions and have a scratch-resistant coating. A special, partially cured layer of coating allows the films to be formed and back-injected using film insert molding (FIM) after printing. Between forming and back-injection molding, the coating is fully cured using UV lamps. This coating enables a high-gloss, piano black effect or matte effect.

With the company’s Black Panel Technology, seamless integration of “Dead-Front” or “Secret until Lit” is demonstrated with Makrofol LM polycarbonate film, which is suited for instrument panels, touch panels, and speedometers with integrated displays. LCD displays are disguised with the surrounding bezel in one continuous film surface, until the LCD is illuminated through a window in the film.

A combination of printed films and cutting-edge injection molding techniques creates switches with an optical 3D effect. During production, several layers of Makrofol DE films are printed with symbols. The bottom layer has a patterned reverse side, while the top layer consists of a scratch-resistant film. When a switch is printed with this film structure, three-dimensional images—or the patterns on the reverse side—appear, depending on the angle of LED lighting.

Covestro’s Makrolon Ai and Makrolon AX polycarbonates are formulated to address today’s interior ambient lighting and exterior signature lighting trends, while Makrolon TC polycarbonate can integrate heat sinks and electronics to help dissipate heat in lighting applications.