Scratch-resistant coated film for identity cards

The new Makrofol® TP 320 polycarbonate film achieved a very good rating of “≥ HB” in the pencil hardness test. Cards made of this film are therefore much more resistant to scratching, and the gloss and transparency of the card surface are maintained for longer. This doesn’t just boost the card’s service life but also security against counterfeiting and misuse. The new Makrofol® TP 320 polycarbonate film achieved a very good rating of “≥ HB” in the pencil hardness test. Cards made of this film are therefore much more resistant to scratching, and the gloss and transparency of the card surface are maintained for longer. This doesn’t just boost the card’s service life but also security against counterfeiting and misuse.

Identity cards such as driver’s licenses, credit cards and passports have to meet ever greater functional and esthetic demands in terms of scratch resistance. With Makrofol® TP 320, Bayer MaterialScience has now developed an outer film (overlay) for these cards that is scratch-resistant and hardcoated on one side. This is part of the Makrofol® ID range, which has been specially designed for card applications.

“The special feature of this transparent film is that it can be laminated under high pressure and at temperatures of up to 190 °C, which are typically encountered when manufacturing these types of cards,” said Georgios Tziovaras, a films specialist at Bayer MaterialScience. “This eliminates both cracks in the hard coat and other surface defects, something that was not previously possible with polycarbonate films with scratch-resistant coatings.”

The new polycarbonate film achieved a very good rating of “= HB” (DIN EN ISO 13523-4) in the pencil hardness test, an established global test standard for evaluating the surface hardness and abrasion resistance of materials. Cards made of this film are therefore much more resistant to scratching in everyday use and the gloss and transparency of the card surface are maintained for longer. “This doesn’t just boost the card’s service life but also security against counterfeiting and misuse, since security features inside the card such as passport photos, signatures, personal data, holograms and kinegrams remain more readily identifiable over a longer period,” said Tziovaras. This is also helped by the hard coating’s excellent resistance to typical “everyday chemicals” such as sun creams, cosmetics, oils, grease, fuel and cleaning agents. Security is further enhanced by the fact that high-precision micro-engravings can be made in the film and card surface during the lamination process.

One of the strengths of the overlay film is the excellent flexibility of the hard coat. Such cards made of Makrofol® can be bent through 180 degrees without damaging the scratch-resistant coating. The flexural strength of these types of cards is comparable to standard cards made of Makrofol® based on the test conditions of the ISO/IEC 10373 standard. “What’s more, we have designed our new product so that it does not interfere with the use of laser engraving,” said Tziovaras. This process is used to write information and security features such as photos and microtexts into ready-laminated polycarbonate cards. Makrofol® TP 320 film is available in a thickness of 105 micrometers.

About Bayer MaterialScience:
With 2009 sales of EUR 7.5 billion, Bayer MaterialScience is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2009, Bayer MaterialScience had 30 production sites and employed approximately 14,300 people around the globe. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company.

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