SABIC Innovative Plastics worked with Rottne Industry AB to supply a high-performance glazing material for the windshields and windows of its harvesters and forwarders. Working with SABIC and its distributer, Vink Essåplast Group AB in Sweden, Rottne selected high optical quality Lexan Margard polycarbonate (PC) to ensure that operators of its logging equipment have enhanced visibility and protection against debris or large objects.
Lexan Margard MR5E sheet—a two side hard-coated, ultraviolet (UV) protected sheet—is optionally available with screen-print, protective hard coating in 3D-formed shapes, which makes the parts easier to install in cabins and reduces the risk of defects during installation. The sheets can be cold curved into radii of greater than 300 times the thickness and drape-formed. The hard coating delivers enhanced abrasion and chemical resistance: After 100 cycles of Taber testing according to ASTM D 1044, the haze is less than 10% compared to greater than 25% for uncoated PC sheet and acrylic.
The Margard MR5E sheet offers the best optical properties of the Lexan PC product line, and it meets the highest requirements with regard to black specks, bubbles, lint, and fibers, as well as distortion and ripple defects. According to SABIC, the material is about 50% lighter than glass, is said to be “virtually unbreakable,” and complies with the ECE 43R regulation of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations (UN/ECE) concerning the approval of safety glazing materials.
For its forestry equipment, Rottne selected Lexan Margard sheet for all the windows that are screen printed with a fade-out band, which covers the glue used for installing the windows in the metal frame, and then both sides are hard-coated. Rottne previously used Lexan sheet for its vehicles, but it worked with SABIC on this project in 2012 to introduce the new high-optic Margard technology.
The forwarder windshield and windows use the Lexan Margard MR5IR sheet, which features near IR light absorption in the wave-length range of 780-1400 nm. This material protects against UV radiation and can help save energy by reducing heat buildup in the cabin, thus allowing the air-conditioner to run less often.
SABIC is supplying both of these products from a new sheet extrusion line located at its manufacturing facility in Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands. The extrusion line uses a Class 1,000 clean room technology to ensure high optical quality of the sheets, which can be used for lamination and glazing of forestry and agricultural vehicles, high-speed trains, and bullet-resistant glass-PC laminates for military and police vehicles, among other applications.
“We have had tremendous feedback from customers on the enhanced optical quality of our windshields and windows since we started using SABIC’s Lexan sheet from the company’s new...extrusion line,” Jan-Åke Björck, Purchasing Manager at Rottne Industry AB, said in a statement. “Operators report noticeably clearer, sharper views from the cab, enabling them to work more efficiently and safely.”
The production line, in operation since the end of 2011, has an extended production capability range of 2- to 15-mm (0.08- to 0.59-in) gauges. SABIC plans to open a similar line at its U.S. facility in Mount Vernon, IN, this year.