Exterior appliques are used as filler and trim pieces on the B and C pillars of passenger cars and light trucks. Once manufactured of painted-die-cast metal, exterior appliques have now evolved from painted plastic to silicone hardcoated polycarbonate.
The new polycarbonate/silicone system offers integrally colored, hardcoated appliques with higher gloss and depth of image (DOI) than painted and nonpainted systems, and the silicone hardcoat boosts the scratch- and weather-resistance properties of the applique. The high impact resistance of the polycarbonate offers 30-60% lighter weight and greater durability vs. metal.
From a manufacturing standpoint, production of hardcoated appliques involves fewer steps and is easily automated. Transfer efficiency of the silicone is about 90%, and warehousing and mixing are simplified vs. painting.
This paper will discuss a variety of functional testing methods to ensure performance of the new substrate and coating vs. current production alternatives of metal or painted plastic.