BASF's Ultramid Vision used in car interior for the first time

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 05 Oct 2019

The BASF product Ultramid Vision has been used in a car interior for the first time. The semi-crystalline polyamide is employed in the window regulator module of a German automobile manufacturer.

Compared to opaque standard polyamides, Ultramid Vision displays very high light transmission with low light scattering. Perfect conditions for use with the illuminated symbols on the window regulators and for setting the exterior mirrors.

Light comes through unhindered
BASF says 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 – as the window regulator has demonstrated impressively.

“In the 2K injection molding process used here, Ultramid Vision demonstrates good adhesion to the switch housing, which consists of glass fibre-reinforced polyamide. This was an important argument in favor of using Ultramid Vision,” explains Dr. Rainer Xalter, product developer in the Performance Materials division at BASF. “A further selection criterion was the homogeneous light transmittance. The requirement was to allow as much light to pass through as possible, with high colour fidelity of the transmitted light. Ultramid  Vision B3K WT15490 emerged as the right solution for the white symbols and Ultramid Vision B3K DLT UN (DLT = diffuse light transmission, UN = uncolored) for the red status displays.”

Ultramid Vision impresses Valeo
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, says BASF.

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,” says Sebastian Laukat, project manager at Valeo, expressing his satisfaction with the semi-transparent, semi-crystalline polyamide from BASF. “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.”

Versatility in colour and design
Beyond the uncolored base-grade Ultramid Vision B3K UN, specially equipped products with diffuse light transmission at high transmission rate as well as products coloured according to customer requests can also be manufactured. The Ultramid Vision portfolio therefore offers designers and developers a broad range of possibilities for realising design features and lighting elements in car interiors and various consumer and industrial applications.