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16th October 2017, Leverkusen

Class-A surface for laptops

Dr Michael Schmidt, Co-CEO of CFRTP composites at Covestro, took the trophy at the 2017 European Plastics Innovation Awards ceremony in Brussels. © CovestroCovestro has received this year’s European Plastics Innovation Award for its composite ‘A-Cover’ for next-generation laptops.

Lightweight materials are in greater demand than ever, and not just in the automotive industry, the company says. Manufacturers of electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones also want to slim down their products. The advantages are obvious – while consumers appreciate light, thin devices, manufacturers also benefit from lower shipping costs while reducing their logistics-related ecological footprint.

A-Cover technology is based on continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastics (CFRTP) in combination with a highly efficient production method.

 “Winning this prize confirms that we have truly pushed the boundaries with our CFRTPs, in order to meet the needs of tomorrow,” says Dr Michael Schmidt, who, together with David Hartmann, heads the Thermoplastic Composites department at Covestro. “These composites are ideally suited for producing thinner, lighter and yet more robust parts for IT devices.”

 “Compared to a conventional magnesium-aluminum alloy, we achieve weight reductions of approximately 15% and the A-Cover composite exhibits the same good bending and torsional rigidity as the metallic material,” adds Hartmann. “Moreover, CFRTPs meet the Underwriters Laboratories’ flammability standard of V-0.

Contemporary design

The composites give product designers an unprecedented degree of design freedom. Various combinations of resin and carbon or glass fibres, for example, can be used for optical effects. Textures can also be created within the mould or by sandblasting, CNC milling and laser cutting.

The A-Cover composites come close to achieving the quality of a Class-A surface. An environmentally friendly water-based two-component finish with optimal adhesion to polycarbonate substrates provides the visual upgrade and permits individual design.

By utilizing a single mould manufacturing concept, Covestro is able to combine the three conventional steps of preheating, thermoforming and functional integration into a single process. The results are twofold – substantially lower costs and shorter cycle times.

The European Plastics Innovation Award was instituted by the pan-European trade association PlasticsEurope and the Society of Plastics Engineers, SPE. It honours companies using plastics to develop new ideas, methods, products or technologies that meet the needs of society while respecting the demands of sustainability.

With 2016 sales of €11.9 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies with 30 production sites around the globe and 15,600 employees.

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