GE Plastics' Offers New Online Toolbox For Automotive Lighting Designers

GE's Re-Energized Lighting Program Innovates with Self-Service Predictive Tools to Streamline Design Optimization and Material Selection

SOUTHFIELD, Mich.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—June 26, 2006— With increasing consumer demand for differentiated vehicles, GE Plastics' Automotive Lighting division today launched its new LiteDesign(1) Web resource for their Signature Surfaces(1) program, the company's newest offering for advanced exterior surfaces. The self-service LiteDesign resource offers eight online tools and calculators that can help simulate resin colors and effects, predict thermal performance and flow characteristics, and estimate the cost difference between two alternative materials. GE Plastics is currently the only engineering thermoplastic supplier to offer its customers predictive engineering design tools.

LiteDesign aims to help automotive lighting designers quickly evaluate thermal, visual, cost, and kinematic factors that drive material selection. Making well-balanced material choices early can significantly streamline design optimization and scale-up processes.

Jim Wilson, global market director for GE Plastics' Automotive Lighting division, said, "The key to differentiated styling is to design in the material first rather than struggle to force-fit a material to the design. We recognized that if lighting designers had the tools to approximate material costs and performance early in the design process, they could save a tremendous amount of time, effort, and cost to create more innovative solutions. This is a great example of how GE provides added value to our customers."

GE Plastics' easy-to-use LiteDesign website now serves designers with the following tools:

-- Automotive OEM Specification Wizard: This tool can be used by customers to identify GE Plastics resins that may meet the specifications of various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). After selecting a geographic region, users can search by product line, grade, OEM, specification, or a combination of these to narrow the search.

-- GE Plastics Datasheets: Datasheets are available online (HTML) or in a downloadable version (PDF) for the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Users simply select the appropriate geographic region, units, and material to see a comprehensive list of grades. The user can then choose up to five grades and click "Compare" to see a side-by-side view of the details of each.

-- IMAGINE IT Visualfx(1) Special Effects Resin Simulator: This easy-to-use digital image tool provides a visual simulation of various GE resin colors and special effects available for both automotive bezels and lens surrounds. Users click on the tool, select the preferred resins and special effects, and visualize customized simulated headlamps, fog lamps, and tail lamps.

-- MAKE IT Cost Calculator: By entering requested values into this calculator, users can approximate basic savings when comparing materials; it can also back-calculate price, cycle time, part weight, or thickness to achieve a given savings target.

-- MOVE IT Kinematic Calculator: This mounting interference calculator aids reflector design by calculating the interference created between an aiming screw and the curvilinear motion of its mating boss. Users can gain insight into the effect of boss placement on the magnitude of interference, and minimize interference to limit stresses and unwanted disruption of beam pattern.

-- SOLVE IT Solutions Central: This resource is designed to help customers immediately access GE's materials and automotive experts. Users simply click on the GE Solution button and provide basic information to generate an immediate response from the GE Solution Team, which will contact the user directly to discuss a materials solution.

-- TEST IT Thermal Prediction: This tool provides a reflector hot-spot estimation based on geometric and bulb wattage inputs. The transfer functions employed are developed through full factorial FEA analysis of parametric designs.

-- TOOL IT Filling Analysis: This flow calculator provides insight into part manufacturability by determining the maximum injection pressure required to fill a given flow length. It also allows users to perform fill-time and wall-thickness scans to visualize the effects of these parameters.

To help further support its lighting program, GE Plastics will soon introduce its new Xtreme Heat portfolio of Lexan(1) XHT polycarbonate (PC) resins. Not only do the new Lexan XHT resins deliver excellent resistance to deformation and color shift under high heat conditions, they also surpass competitive materials such as thermosets in their density, flow characteristics, and recyclability potential.

About GE Plastics

GE Plastics is a global supplier of plastic resins widely used in automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics, transportation, performance packaging, building & construction, telecommunications, and optical media applications. The company manufactures and compounds polycarbonate, ABS, SAN, ASA, PPE, PC/ABS, PBT and PEI resins, as well as the LNP(1) line of high-performance specialty compounds. GE Plastics, Specialty Film & Sheet manufactures high-performance Lexan(1) sheet and film products used in thousands of demanding applications worldwide. In addition, GE Plastics' dedicated Automotive organization is an experienced, world-wide competitor, offering leading plastics solutions for five key automotive segments: body panels and glazing; under the hood applications; component; structures and interiors; and lighting. As a Worldwide Partner of the Olympic Games, GE is the exclusive provider of a wide range of innovative products and services that are integral to a successful Games.

(1) LiteDesign, Signature Surfaces, Visualfx, Lexan, and LNP are trademarks of General Electric Company.

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