Looking in the mirror: Beauty and strength
Exterior rearview mirrors are important to driver safety. They need to be easy-to-use, able to provide stability in all conditions at all speeds – and of course, aesthetically pleasing. By using our unique thermoplastics – Akulon®, Arnite®, and Stanyl® - customers are now able to consolidate the number of separate parts in the rearview mirror, reducing weight and costs with no compromise on safety and performance.
Increasingly, our plastics are being used not just for structural components (like mirror bases, brackets and housings), but also for the actuator systems that adjust the mirror itself.
Of course, it’s all about visibility. The driver needs a very stable view in the mirrors and must be able to adjust them quickly and easily with minimum fuss. Our next-generation materials provide excellent engineering properties like high stiffness and strength…yet they are up to 40% lighter, they do not break, and they’re extremely durable.
One very exciting opportunity provided by our material solutions is that of component consolidation – in other words, combining structural and aesthetic parts into a single, plastic piece (rather than fitting a cast-aluminum mirror base to an ASA cover, for example).
This we are able to achieve with thermoplastics, reducing system costs – and weight – while still providing you with a material that delivers stability and stiffness at high speeds. For example, some of our Arnite polyesters and Akulon polyamides have high glass fiber concentrations of up- to 60%.
Of course, as an exterior component, aesthetics of the rearview mirror are also an important factor. Any materials used in the visible components of a mirror system must deliver the right surface quality, either in a textured or in a high gloss part. In the case of unpainted parts the right color in combination with the desired UV stability is one of the challenges – and this is another area where our thermoplastics hold the advantage – both looking and performing well for the driver.
The key word for actuator systems is precision. Every driver likes their mirror angle just a little bit different. Which makes precision and ease-of-use critical – along with stability and the ability to withstand vibrations at high speed.
Our main material solutions meet these needs, specifically for the actuator housings and gears found in the actuator mechanism.