Toppan Develops “Black” Light Control Film for Automobiles
21 December 2022: Toppan, a global leader in communication, security, packaging, décor materials and electronics solutions, has developed a new “Normal Black” grade of LC MAGIC™, a liquid crystal light control film that changes from transparent to opaque with the flick of a switch.
LC MAGIC™ Normal Black is black with a visible light transmission (VLT) of 5% when power is off. Automobile windows and sunroofs using LC MAGIC™ Normal Black can therefore create a bright and open space when power is on, while ensuring privacy when power is off. This can eliminate the need for shades with motors or moving parts, improve comfort and make vehicles lighter.
The shift to electric vehicles (EVs) and progress towards full driving automation are expected to transform automobiles into places to relax. The role of automobile windows will also change. At level 4 “high driving automation” or level 5 “full driving automation”, vehicle interiors will become more like living spaces, and windows will need to protect privacy. Shades, curtains or other mechanical features, however, entail moving parts in multiple locations, not only taking up interior space, but also adding weight and consuming more power, which will impact the range that EVs can offer from a single charge.
In next-generation automotive design, manufacturers will likely seek to extend range, reduce weight, and enhance interior comfort. This will be aided by technologies that integrate sunroofs and windows into interior design without using motors or moving parts. Several light control glass and film products like Toppan’s LC MAGIC™ are already available, but the level of technical difficulty involved means that it has so far been challenging to commercialize a “black” model for interiors with high-end design.
Toppan has now enabled a black color that shields 95% of visible light when power is off and a translucent light gray color allowing 43% of visible light to pass through when power is on. Toppan aims to launch mass production of LC MAGIC™ Normal Black in fiscal 2024, making samples available to the mobility industry, including the automotive, aviation, and rail sectors.