This process can make it possible to produce decorated plastics parts economically and sustainably.
'Large decorative parts with multifunctional seamlessly integrated display, operating and ambient lighting elements for car interiors' are one application,’ said Olaf Zollner, head of application development in Covestro's engineering plastics business.
Ingo Kleba, managing director at Rhul, said: '[The process could have] good opportunities in highly integrated passenger car exterior parts such as spoilers, radar covers and pillar trim. There is also great potential ain medical, communications and IT.’
Apart from the PU RIM structural component that lies behind the foil, the polyurethane 2k coating is a key to the development. Self-healing coatings are available that mean superficial scratches from keys or road grit disappear by themselves over time. ‘The components retain their appearance, value and function longer,' Kleba said.