Transparent optical elements with Makrolon® LED / Semi-finished polycarbonate products for large-area lighting concepts / Permanent protection of LEDs with polyurethane encapsulating compounds

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Leverkusen, March 18, 2014 – Global climate change and ever scarcer resources necessitate significant improvements in lighting systems' energy efficiency. One important solution is LED lighting technology – with good reason: compared with the traditional incandescent bulb, LEDs reduce energy consumption by up to 90 percent and have a far longer service life.

Bayer MaterialScience recognized this trend at an early stage and developed special polycarbonate and polyurethane materials for LED lamps. These are widely used in lens systems, optical guides, reflectors, light diffusers, cooling elements and housing parts. In such optical components, Bayer plastics are able to guide, bundle, diffuse and reflect the LED light. There are also a number of special process technologies to help customers manufacture the optical components.

Armed with this comprehensive product package, the company is now set to participate for the first time in the world's largest exhibition for light and building technology, “Light + Building,” which takes place in Frankfurt, Germany, from March 30 to April 4. On its stand (E41) in Hall 4.0, the company will present a variety of products for lowering the energy consumption of lights and offering consumers greater comfort and safety. The program is thus an important example of Bayer MaterialScience's sustainable business strategy. Its goal is for all the company's product and process developments to benefit both society and the environment, and to help create value. The commitment is closely linked to the Group's motto: “Bayer: Science For A Better Life.”

Modern LED lighting technology also offers a great deal of design scope in the illumination of buildings, streets and vehicles. There are virtually no limits to its use in advertising, stand construction at trade fairs, displays and billboards. Furthermore, the technology is also suitable for modern lighting control systems.

It is therefore not surprising that demand for materials for LED-specific requirements is constantly rising. “Our materials are also opening up new applications for LED lamps and are contributing to the increasing popularity of this efficient lighting technology,” said Axel Wetzchewald of the LED Program at Bayer MaterialScience.

High-tech plastics for modern light management
One example is the Makrolon® LED product family, which has been developed specifically for such applications. The polycarbonate materials are highly transparent and conduct white LED light without significant losses. They offer plenty of freedom in part design, are lightweight and can be economically manufactured by injection molding if the batch sizes are large enough. Other benefits include the material's high impact strength and fracture resistance.

One example is the range of “Eco StreetLine” streetlights made by the lighting and electronics specialist Hella. Bayer MaterialScience is currently testing five lights of this kind at its headquarters in Leverkusen. The initial results are promising: since their installation, energy consumption in the relevant section of the street has been reduced by 60 percent. The two companies have been collaborating for many years in automotive lighting and were able to harness the knowledge gleaned during this time for the efficient design of the street lighting system: lenses made of Makrolon® LED ensure the LED light is focused precisely and the road well lit.

It also allows the realization of special design solutions, for example in an extremely flat LED lamp in CD format produced by EDC GmbH. With this solution, the plastic's good mold detail reproduction is particularly important: small indentations have to be inserted very precisely into a carrier to accommodate the tiny LEDs and ensure their safe operation.

A further application involves external covers with integrated lenses for lighting systems in production plants. In everyday use, lamps from the Russian manufacturer AtomSvet® have to withstand all kinds of knocks and blows in an environment such as this. Thanks to its outstanding fracture resistance and impact strength, polycarbonate is also the material of choice here.

Semi-finished polycarbonate products for large-area lighting concepts
Polycarbonate sheets and films are used to guide, diffuse and reflect LED light in large-area lighting systems. Bayer MaterialScience GmbH's range of PC products manufactured in Darmstadt, Germany, include diffuser sheets of Makrolon® DX and Lumen XT with differing opacity and good light permeability. This makes them suitable for many applications in which uniform light diffusion and good light yield are paramount. Reflector sheets made of Makrolon® RX, on the other hand, do just the opposite: the white opaque products reflect up to 97 percent of the LED light and can be used either as reflecting surfaces or as housing elements.

New additions to the range include light-shaping and glare-free Makrolon® SX sheets with a light permeability of up to 90 percent. One side has a micro lens structure, while the other has an embossed surface with UV protection. A subjacent number of LEDs are thus connected optically to produce a continuous “line of light.”

The application spectrum for films from the Makrofol® LM range (Light Management) is similar. Key applications include lighting solutions where only a small amount of space is available yet a high level of light diffusion – or, for example, three-dimensional surfaces – is required. A further example can be found in interior design in the automotive industry. Thanks to ambient lighting, car interiors are increasingly becoming a personal “feel-good” zone. This film range, too, includes grades for guiding and diffusing light and for almost 100 percent light reflection. It also contains a number of grades for special effects, for example light extraction films for OLED lamps.

Permanent protection for light-emitting diodes
The possibilities offered by the LED lighting technology can be significantly extended if the sensitive light-emitting diodes are reliably and permanently protected against moisture, the weather and cleaning agents. This also opens up application opportunities for LED strip lighting in bathrooms, saunas, swimming pools, building facades and gardens. Such applications call for a transparent, water-repellent material that completely embeds the LEDs.

For this purpose, Bayer MaterialScience has further developed certain grades of its Desmodur® and Desmophen® polyurethane coating materials to make them suitable for the production of transparent encapsulating materials. With these solvent-free materials, strip lighting and other LED lighting elements can be sealed permanently to make them waterproof without any compromises on brightness.

With these innovative material solutions, Bayer MaterialScience is significantly helping to put the spotlight on energy-efficient LED lighting. Visitors to the Light + Building exhibition will be able to see this for themselves on the company's stand (E 41) in Hall 4.0.

About Bayer MaterialScience:
With 2013 sales of EUR 11.2 billion, Bayer MaterialScience is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2013, Bayer MaterialScience had 30 production sites and employed approximately 14,300 people around the globe. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company.

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This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

News Source : Transparent optical elements with Makrolon® LED / Semi-finished polycarbonate products for large-area lighting concepts / Permanent protection of LEDs with polyurethane encapsulating compounds

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