French automaker Renault Sport has used SABIC Innovative Plastics' Lexan* polycarbonate (PC) sheet and a proprietary Exatec* blackout ink technology in its new Mégane Renault Sport R26.R-a limited edition of its turbocharged Mégane R26 by to replace the glass backlight and quarter windows of the new vehicle. Renault's tier 1 supplier, Plastrance designed the technology in close collaboration with Renault and SABIC Innovative Plastics. This glazing application marks the first commercial use of Exatec ink technology.
The goal was to coax higher performance from the car while still using the existing 227bhp engine from the Mégane R26 by reducing overall vehicle weight. The Lexan polycarbonate glazing technology enabled 5.7 kilograms or 12.6 pounds of the weight reduction compared to if traditional glass in the new model. Relative to Mégane R26, new limited edition model trims a total of 123 kg of weight off the vehicle, bringing it down to a svelte 1,235 kg.
Renault's R&D department worked very closely with Plastrance, SABIC IP, Exatec and KRD Coatings GmbH to develop a complex technology to equal the optical quality of glass while also surpassing glass in design freedom and weight savings. Lexan sheet with special Exatec ink technology offers sleek, curved shapes accented by the blackout areas; crystal clarity and exceptionally low-optical distortion for optimal visibility; and high-impact resistance for safety. SABIC IP partnered with Momentive Performance Materials to provide AS4000 silicone hardcoat technology to enhance resistance against abrasion and chemical degradation in these glazing applications.