If you thought that technology has advanced at shocking speed over the last 20 years alone, be prepared for another revolution as the latest big trends gather pace. The digital revolution is set to dominate lives as computers become more clever and thousands of times more powerful. The high-tech plastics industry is helping to propel those advances.
It is not just computers which are advancing. Other devices and electronic goods are caught up in the digital boom, such as mobile phones, tablets and televisions. These devices are becoming more powerful, even smaller and more lightweight, and that includes the components within as well as the device itself. There is also a trend towards shorter lifecycles as people dump their existing technology in favour of the next big thing.
It is even more important for companies like Covestro to use materials which make products more efficient and user friendly, with good design and safety features, and which are as sustainable as possible. Given this, high-tech plastic polycarbonate is the material of choice: it is lightweight, hard and flame-retardant, easy to shape and can be produced efficiently. The end product is often then coated using products made from raw materials by Covestro to give it a nice look and feel.
Razor-thin and extremely light
This material is therefore increasingly used for laptops, tablet PCs, smartphones and flat-panel displays, with the latest generation of reinforced polycarbonate technology making even ‘ultra-notebooks’ significantly lighter and truly razor-thin, while maintaining sturdiness and safety.
What also matters is the high level of design freedom of polycarbonates. Typically they are used for creative, colourful cases for cellphones and smartphones.
Covestro has developed a material solution that extends the service life of the LED flash lenses used in camera phones, enabling improved image quality.
Polycarbonate also contributes to other LED technology components and in the making of film. For example, it is used in the diffuser plates for televisions and flatscreens that distribute light across the entire monitor to produce a higher quality image. This optimizes color quality, while smart combinations of film can even be used to increase light yield.
LEDs also open up new lighting concepts in our homes. Rooms can be lit up by surface-area lighting. Special polycarbonate films from Covestro play an important role in making these new surface-emitting panels bright, efficient and durable.