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Hardcoated polyester film offers stainless steel effects for keyboards and panels

MacDermid Autotype : 16 April, 2009  (New Product)
MacDermid Autotype launches an innovative new hardcoated polyester film for producing stainless steel effects for membrane keyboards, keypads and fascia panels.
Called Autotex Steel, the new film is easy to handle and print, combining high levels of colour reproduction and definition with a tough outer surface that offers excellent resistance to abrasions and a wide range of chemicals and solvents.

Autotex Steel is manufactured using a conventional flexible polyester substrate. The substrate is coated with a ink adhesion layer on the underside or reverse and a specially developed hardcoat outer layer, which is chemically bonded and UV cured. The hardcoat layer has a textured finish which, when the film is printed on the reverse with standard metallic or silver inks, creates the appearance of a brushed stainless steel panel.

The film based solution offers a number of advantages over conventional stainless steel materials, including the ability to produce high quality keyboard or graphics panels at a far lower cost using standard screen processes. In addition, Autotex Steel can easily be embossed, making it ideal for use with domed tactile membrane keypads or in applications where keys or panel areas need to have raised edges. Embossed areas have an excellent flex modulus, with a typical flex life for domed keys being in excess of five million actuations.

Unlike stainless steel, Autotex Steel does not show fingerprints, and can easily be printed with clear display windows or contain secret-until-lit graphics, with the film offering excellent colour rendition and light transmission in clear areas. Graphics are normally reverse printed, so are protected from wear and abrasion by the body of the film substrate and the textured hardcoat layer. The layer has also been formulated to resist a wide variety of common industrial solvents and cleaning fluids, including alcohols, ketones, weak acids and hydrocarbons.

Autotex Steel can be supplied in thicknesses of either 150 or 200 microns, with each being available for use with solvent or UV cured inks, offering product designers and screen printers an efficient and versatile method of developing striking and high quality graphics products with the appearance of stainless steel.
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