Balzers, Liechtenstein, 3 March 2016 - In a striking dragon red, Volkswagen presented their study on the Tiguan GTE Active at the Detroit Motor Show in January. The Oerlikon Balzers ePD technology used on the exterior mirror covers, the front-light frame and the radiator grille strips makes a significant contribution to the design of the vehicle.
The study concerns the five-seater VW Tiguan which is conceived as a zero-emission vehicle (a petrol engine starts up only as needed) and is based on the newly developed second generation of the VW Tiguan. The topic of design is of central importance for the Volkswagen brand. An emotional design and a high level of precision are factors which define automobiles with an appealing character. This is expressed in the Tiguan GTE Active as it presents itself with independent design elements in an “authentic off-road look.”
The ePD technology from Oerlikon Balzers has a decisive share in this: For one thing, it represents the environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative for plastics metallization, and for another, the attractive colour range opens up many new possibilities for designers which are otherwise offered by only very few technologies. The exterior mirror covers, front-light frame and radiator grille strips were metallized in an ePD hue similar to haematite called “black chrome,” which the Oerlikon Balzers ePD specialists defined in cooperation with VW designers.
Sustainable ePD technology
The technology of plastic metallization has attracted the attention of designers and important industrial sectors for many years. High-quality components with glossy, metallic surfaces, such as those used for interior and exterior equipment on automobiles or in the consumer electronics segment, presently represent a strong trend and increase the value of the end product. The ePD technology developed by Oerlikon Balzers is a trail-blazing coating method for all areas in which high-quality metallic surfaces are required on plastic parts. What’s more, it is an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional production methods.
ePD allows plastic parts to be given not only a high-gloss or matt metallic appearance, but also attractive metallic colour variations as well as functional aspects, such as configurable light or radio-wave permeability. This allows high-level functional and decorative demands made by industry and consumers to be fulfilled and exceeded in many areas. Oerlikon Balzers achieves this by employing metallic PVD thin-film technology in combination with UV paint technology. Because ePD operates entirely without the use of toxic substances such as chromium derivatives, this type of metallization will comply with the European REACH environmental regulations taking effect at the end of 2017. Additional advantages include very short cycle durations with high output and exceptionally economical production conditions.