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Home > Press > Extremely durable, soft feeling silicone button

Nanon, the specialist in nanoscale manipulation of polymers and glass, equips the new Seat Leon from the Volkswagen Group with the unique SoftFeel™ key-pads

Extremely durable, soft feeling silicone button

Posted on March 28, 2006

Nanon, the specialist in nanoscale manipulation of polymers and glass, equips the new Seat Leon from the Volkswagen Group with the unique SoftFeel™ key-pads. It is a soft, smooth, flexible and polyurethane painted silicone key-pad mounted on the steering wheel. A new nanoscale treatment means that the key-pad withstand at least 100,000 pushes. Seat decided for the SoftFeel™ key-pads because it brings an exclusive feeling - at a low cost - to the interior of the car. Seat is excited about the result and has decided to use the key-pad in the new and upcoming models, Altea, Ibiza and Cordoba.

Nanon A/S - Seat Leon silicone key-pad
The Seat Leon silicone key-pad on the steering wheel with a durable coating on the 3D trim. Copyright © Nanon A/S
Nanon A/S - SoftPlasma process
The SoftPlasma™ process makes it possible to paint on silicone and enables rear illumination. Copyright © Nanon A/S

Silicone and paint can go together
Normally, the soft and flexible properties of silicone rubber cannot be combined with paint as paint does not stick to silicone. Thomas Christensen, Business Development Manager at Nanon A/S, explains: "The SoftFeel™ product is unique because silicone rubber and polyurethane paint can now go together. Complicated 3-D things can be painted too. Nanon's patented plasma polymerisation process, SoftPlasma™, where a chemically bonded coating of 10-100 nanometres is created, is the secret behind. The coating acts as a unique primer for the paint.

"The product offers great potential for the automotive industry, where it can be used for all kinds of switches - on steering wheels, doors, windows and seats. But it is also suitable for the telecommunications industry which could use it for mobile phone keypads, for example," he says.

Moulding elastomer rubber on plastics or metals
The SoftPlasma™ technology has other unique advantages. By creating a elastomer-like surface on the substrate, the SoftPlasma™ polymerisation technology makes it possible to mould elastomer rubber on plastics or metals without using any primer, glue or additives. The surface modification of the substrate is permanent and allows a chemical bonding of the substrate with the elastomer rubber.

Advanced process
The SoftPlasma™ process is conducted under very low pressure in a vacuum container into which gas is injected. It ionises in a high-pressure field (plasma). At the same time, a special monomer is atomized into the vacuum container to activate and polymerise the silicone rubber surface or other substrates. A coating of 10-100 nanometres is then created. As the treatment is permanent, subsequent treatment such as coating with polyurethane paint may be done either at this stage or later.

OEM supplier or licensee
Nanon can deliver the SoftFeel™ products as a sub-supplier. Alternatively the company says it is able either to supply the complete installation for the SoftPlasma™ process, or the technology can be licensed.


Media Contact:
Thomas Christensen
Business Development Manager
Nanon A/S
Phone:+45 4348 3569
Mobile:+45 2027 3675

Copyright © Nanon A/S

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