Ecology Coatings’ Clear Polycarbonate Coating Means Durability Boost for Consumer Electronics and Automotive Plastics

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Testing by Tekra Corp. Confirms New Combination of Hardness, Clarity, and Flexibility

Ecology Coatings, Inc., a leading provider of nano-engineered ultraviolet (UV) curable coatings, announced today that it has developed a new formulation for coating plastics that offers superior clarity, flexibility and hardness. With clarity matching that of glass, the nanomaterial-based coating adheres to polycarbonates to provide an effective barrier for moisture, chemical, scratch and abrasion resistance. Confirmed by coatings specialists at Tekra Corp., a company primarily focused on the development of high-end customized coatings, the product’s performance properties make it ideal for automotive parts, consumer electronics, flexible displays and other sensitive polycarbonate applications.

Extremely tough and naturally transparent, polycarbonate plastics are some of the most widely-used engineered materials in the world. Polycarbonates surround us daily in the form of lightweight eyeglass lenses, safer cars, shatter-proof windows, computer parts and hundreds of other products. Although it is the strongest of the plastics commonly available today, polycarbonate does have its disadvantages: It has only fair chemical resistance and is susceptible to many organic solvents. These limitations are addressed by applying a coating for protection, but conventional coatings compromise the polycarbonate product’s transparency, flexibility, bulk or durability.

Tekra’s team of engineers has found that Ecology Coatings new technology offers superior surface protection in a clear, flexible formulation that does not change the polycarbonate’s optics. Employing the Japanese Industry Standard test, a rigorous test for coating hardness, Tekra’s studies show that the new coating achieves a pencil hardness of 2H, a rating that is actually three to four levels harder than any conventional organic coating on the market today.

“Ecology Coatings has developed a technology for polycarbonates that throws the door open wide on a whole new set of performance properties that benefit manufacturers and consumers,” said Jason Wichmann, Tekra. “As we explore the many uses of nanotechnology, we see that we no longer need to compromise those desired performance characteristics. We are finding that in order to stay at the cutting edge of the new industrials, companies need to start looking at nanomaterials or risk quickly becoming dinosaurs.”

Ecology Coatings product’s unique performance characteristics can be attributed to its proprietary nanomaterial formulation. The optical clarity demonstrated in Tekra’s tests is a result of the coating’s nanomaterial particulates which are tiny enough to allow light to pass through undisturbed. Quick cure enables the material innovation that allows the coating to adhere to polycarbonate without etching the surface. The fast-curing coatings are also an ideal carrier for other nanotechnologies, assuring that nanomaterials disperse evenly and maintain suspension through cure.

“In developing this coating, the biggest challenge was getting the chemical reaction needed for strong adhesion to the plastic without changing the clarity of the coating or the surface underneath,” said Sally Ramsey, chief chemist of Ecology Coatings. “Since that initial breakthrough we have found we are also able to incorporate other substances to deliver specialized properties. These basic clear coats are exciting, but they are just the beginning.”

Ecology Coatings’ nano-engineered products are easily integrated into current manufacturing infrastructures. The proprietary UV-curing, 100 percent solids formulations contain no water, toxic solvents or other liquid components that need to evaporate for the coating to set, a characteristic that drives time, energy and EPA reporting efficiencies for the manufacturer. Ecology Coatings' most recent breakthrough application for waterproof paper is honored in TIME Magazine's Best Inventions of 2005 issue currently on newsstands. Unlike conventional waterproofing techniques, Ecology Coatings method produces writable, mildew-resistant waterproof paper at a dramatically lower cost.

About Ecology Coatings

Ecology Coatings is a world leader in the development of nano-engineered, ultra-violet curable coatings. Using a platform of integrated nano-material technologies, the company creates proprietary coatings with unique performance attributes. Ecology collaborates with industry leaders to develop revolutionary high-value, high-performance coatings for military, automotive, industrial, electronic and medical applications. Ecology Coatings is a privately held company based in Akron, Ohio.

About Tekra Corporation

Tekra Corporation has provided plastic film and adhesive solutions to industry for over 30 years. Tekra creates and places on plastic substrates a variety of proprietary protective hardcoats and print receptive coatings. It also offers converting services and, through special supplier relationships, a full line of plastic substrates and adhesives. Tekra Corporation is an Authorized Distributor and exclusive distributor to the North American medical diagnostics market for DuPont Teijin Films, a sales representative for MakrofolÒ and BayfolÒ polycarbonate film from Bayer Films Americas, and an Authorized Converter for the Industrial Business Division of 3M adhesives.

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Jill Stromback
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