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Innovative plastic film for a range of smart card applications

SABIC Innovative Plastics : 12 June, 2008  (New Product)
Lexan SD films from SABIC Innovative Plastics ideal for the manufacture of ID cards, permits and other high security card technologies and applications
Identity theft, border security, and other threats are expanding the use of electronic identity cards that can resist compromise, last for up to 10 years, and incorporate a variety of sophisticated graphic technologies, such as laser marking. To meet these requirements, SABIC Innovative Plastics has developed three new high-performance polycarbonate (PC) film grades for manufacturing electronic ID cards and security documents. These new products are part of the Lexan SD film family and include a laser-markable grade; a bright white, opaque material; and a clear grade for the cover or intermediate layers of the ID card. SABIC Innovative Plastics launch of these three new products highlights its investment in new high-end film technologies that provide converters with new innovative solutions to meet today's growing information security needs.

"The electronic security industry has been long seeking a polycarbonate plastic film that offers optimal performance, aesthetic, and processing benefits," said Josh Ayer, global product manager, Film, SABIC Innovative Plastics. "There's been a largely unmet market need for such a material until now. Today, SABIC Innovative Plastics' new Lexan SD films can give electronic security card manufacturers all of these benefits and enable them to achieve tight gauge tolerances to simplify the manufacturing of cards within mandated thickness parameters and also produce exceptionally durable products without the need for adhesives."

SABIC Innovative Plastics' new Lexan film solution - used for electronic security documents such as drivers' licenses, e-passport data pages, border crossing cards, residency permits, green cards, smart card inlays, tachometer cards, healthcare cards, vehicle registration tags, and identity cards for government employees, military, police, and others - surpasses conventional materials in several ways. The Lexan films use heat and pressure to join all layers into a card that cannot be pulled apart, as compared to hybrid cards that require adhesives, increasing the likelihood that the card will be disassembled. A second major advantage is that SABIC Innovative Plastics' films deliver very narrow gauge tolerances of +/- 2.5 percent. Compared to existing solutions with wider gauge variations, this property enables converters to consistently assemble multi-layer cards within the mandated thickness range. Further, it avoids the need to double-stock certain gauges to compensate for poor lot-to-lot consistency.

"When we developed this multi-film solution, one goal was to make card manufacturing easier for our customers," said Bart Kiekens, European product manager, Film, SABIC Innovative Plastics. "Converters can now achieve the exact thickness they need by leveraging the tight tolerances of our films - no need for several trials or expensive adjustments to their process. A second goal was to create the best laser-markable film available. We achieved this through our extensive application development resources at the Polymer Process Development Centre in Pittsfield, Mass., which features a Rofin-Baasel Powerline laser system."

The SABIC Innovative Plastics' Lexan SD film solution for electronic ID cards is comprised of the following grades:.

* Lexan SD8B14 film for clear overlays or intermediate layers. This material offers high optical quality and easy processing, including die cutting, printing, and applying CLI/MLI lens structures. Gauges range from 50 um to 400 um.

* Lexan SD8B24 film for core layers. This bright white film offers high opacity even at thinner gauges to prevent graphics on the front from showing through to the back, and vice versa. Gauges range from 75 um to 620 um.

* Lexan SD8B94 film for the clear, laser-markable layer. The film can be used as the top or middle layer, and provides gray-scale graphics for high security personalization. When used on top, it can provide a tactile feel through texturing. It is available in gauges of 50 um, 100 um, and 150 um.

All three materials have a fine velvet finish on one side and a fine matte texture on the other.

All feature low and controlled shrinkage for optimal flatness before and after lamination and are produced in a clean room environment.

In addition to laser marking, these films are well-suited to various types of printing and security features. They can be screen-printed or offset printed as well as hot-stamped (hologram or kinegram). Other technologies include microprinting, infrared- or UV-sensitive printing, guilloche printing and incorporation of RFID
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