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SABIC’s new resin optimizes metallization for consumer electronics designs

Source:Adsale Plastics Network 2023-05-28

SABIC has launched a new grade of ULTEM resin that can assist designers in elevating the styling and aesthetics of consumer electronics components while reducing costs by approximately 25% compared to metal.


New ULTEM DT1820EV resin delivers a smooth, high-gloss finish that provides surface for different decorative aesthetics: paint-free color, secondary painting or metallization using physical vapor deposition (PVD).


To further improve the appearance, this polyetherimide (PEI) material features very high surface hardness to help minimize scratches, and high modulus to help avoid PVD layer cracks.


Its high flow enables complex, thin-wall geometries that support miniaturization and weight reduction. Potential applications include camera deco rings, smartphone touch panel frames and smartwatch frames.


Camera deco rings with colorful metallization using Physical Vapor Deposition on the new ULTEM DT1820EV resin.

“Customers are always looking for new materials that can provide a distinctive, high-quality appearance at a reasonable cost,” said Scott Fisher, business director, ULTEM Resins and Additives, SABIC. “To address this need, we developed ULTEM DT1820EV resin. It uplevels component design without the high costs of using traditional materials like metal.”


Colorful metallization with PVD


SABIC’s ULTEM DT1820EV resin is suitable for direct sputtering PVD metallization. During sputtering, the material’s high heat resistance and primer-less adhesion to the PVD layer enable faster throughput.


Also, its stiffness and low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) help to avoid cracks in the metallized layer. Using PVD with ULTEM DT1820EV resin yields a brilliant, colorful, and glossy finish that replicates the look of metal while lowering the overall production costs.


Further, PVD is a simpler process than nonconductive vacuum metallization (NCVM), which is typically used for glass-filled polycarbonate (PC) resin.


For example, the PVD layer, which determines the color of the part, enables the elimination of three coating steps used in NCVM. The thick coating that results from NCVM can accumulate along the edges and corners of the part, preventing a clean, sharp line.


“New ULTEM DT1820EV resin is carrying on our proud tradition of customer-centric innovation. To help customers meet their net-zero goals, ULTEM DT1820EV resin will also be available in an ISCC+ certified renewable version,” added Meredith Ji, Sr. Scientist, ULTEM Resins and Additives, SABIC.


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