SABIC‘s Innovative Plastics business says it is marking continued progress in the adoption of its polycarbonate (PC) glazing materials for automotive window applications with Fiat‘s new 500L multi-purpose vehicle (MPV). The car features rear fixed side windows moulded from SABIC’s clear Lexan GLX resin and black Cycoloy resin.
These high-performance SABIC materials help reduce weight by about 35%, improve aerodynamic efficiency and achieve the desired styling vs. glass. The Fiat 500L has already launched in Europe and is set to roll out in the United States in early 2013. The rear fixed side windows of the vehicle will be the first in the United States to use two-shot injection compression moulding, which allows for the seamless integration of an aerodynamic spoiler. The Fiat 500L windows demonstrate the enabling power of SABIC’s PC glazing materials, the practical application of PC glazing in today’s mass production vehicles and the continued traction of PC glazing in the automotive industry.
“SABIC’s polycarbonate glazing materials and expertise enabled us to achieve all of our goals for the rear fixed side windows of the 500L, including weight-out, sleek aerodynamics and cutting-edge styling,” said Carlo Torreggiani with Fiat’s group materials labs, polymers & glasses department. “Compared to glass, SABIC’s glazing materials gave us greater freedom to create the distinctive and desired window shape and promote the aerodynamic efficiency and fuel economy of the vehicle. It is all about maximum style at a minimum cost per mile for our customers, and we will continue to explore the opportunities presented by polycarbonate glazing materials to make further progress.”
SABIC’s glazing materials help reduce the weight of Fiat’s rear fixed side windows by about 35% compared to glass, helping the automaker advance its fuel efficiency and emissions reduction goals for the new model.
“Polycarbonate glazing technology and resins are production-ready and are increasingly being adopted by forward-looking automakers like Fiat, and we are pleased to have collaborated with our valued customer on this next chapter of the iconic 500 vehicle series,” said V. Umamaheswaran (UV), director of marketing, automotive, innovative plastics. “Polycarbonate glazing is a cutting-edge technology that is viable and available now for automakers. They can use these materials today on their mass-market vehicles to cut weight by up to 50%for some parts and, as we see with the Fiat 500L, add value in the flexibility of design and help improve aerodynamics as well. SABIC continues to build upon our already strong know-how in automotive glazing and further invest in developing Lexan resin and our advanced Exatec coating systems to support our customers’ present and future needs.”
Innovative moulding approach for aero spoiler integration
SABIC’s glazing materials enabled Fiat to overcome the key challenges involved in designing a rear fixed side window adjacent to an aerodynamic spoiler, including gaps between the two parts, different colour tones and assembly issues. Integration of the rear fixed side window with the spoiler, made possible with SABIC’s PC glazing materials, addressed each of these challenges.
The window uses two-shot injection compression moulding to create a seamless part. The crystal clarity of Lexan GLX resin provides optimal visibility. The black Cycoloy XCM resin serves as a fade-out band, presents uniform colour across the window and spoiler, provides structural functions and contributes to superior dimensional stability in combination with Lexan GLX resin.
To help create this part, SABIC collaborated with Fiat and provided a range of technical expertise, including predictive engineering.
The Lexan GLX grade, a specialty PC resin, was developed with automotive glazing applications in mind. It delivers high cleanliness, weatherability, easy processing and compatibility with protective coatings. The Cycoloy grade, a blend of PC and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resin, provides superior dimensional stability and excellent aesthetics for this application.