News and Press Releases
13 March 2018
Covestro thermoplastic composites mark entry into consumer appliances industry

Haier, a world-leading brand of major household appliances, has launched a state-of-the-art air conditioner under its Casarte brand, utilizing Covestro’s novel continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) composites. These composites are used to house the air conditioning units, which are artistically designed in the form of two standalone cylinders, providing structure and the premium asethetic qualities known for the brand.

“As an award-winning high-end consumer appliance brand owned by Haier Group, Casarte is known for its high quality design and materials,” says Xiongwei Li, Head of Marketing of Casarte, Haier Group. “In this context, it is only natural that an innovative material with premium qualities like CFRTP becomes the ideal choice for this premium air conditioner.”

A plastic with a metallic effect
CFRTP composites are made from ultrathin, unidirectional (UD) tapes that are laminated together at specific angles to form sheets that can be customized to specific performance criteria. The long strands of fiber are oriented and provide strength in the lengthwise direction of the fibers. The resulting thin, stiff, and lightweight yet very strong sheets look and sound like metal, but have the flexiblity of a thermoplastic material. Thanks to its unidirectional carbon texture, CFRTP lends the air conditioner a luxurious metallic effect with a sleek and beautiful surface. The overall design is modeled with Casarte’s core values by placing an emphasis on design artistry.

“Not only does this mark a pivotal step into consumer home appliances for CFRTP composites, but it brings a new premium material and exciting new design opportunities within the reach of designers,” says David Hartmann, one of the co-CEOs of Covestro CFRTP, together with Michael Schmidt.

A new premium material for designers
Traditionally composites have been known to be prohibitively costly and often difficult to work with. CFRTP changes all of this, offering a modern, cost effective and easy to form thermoplastic composite material that opens the path to completely new applications and user experience.

For the Casarte design team, it means that for the first time it has been possible to specify a high-performance composite material with unique aesthetics in their range of premium air conditioners. “Up until now, we have been quite limited in terms of material selection, typically relying on metal to provide the performance and aesthetics that we require,” says Shao Qingru, one of the CMF designers in the Casarte design team. 

Attractive surface
In describing the depth and richness that Qingru sees in the surface texture of Covestro CFRTP, she points at a very tangible benefit of the material. “CFRTP is a very attractive material for us in that it has a natural, unidirectional surface pattern right from the start, unlike metals such as aluminum that requires some combination of finishing processes like sandblasting, brushing and anodizing before it is ready to go into the product. For CFRTP, the finish is all natural and has a beauty to itself.”

“Based on thermoplastics, CFRTP composites can be thermoformed with existing thermoforming tools at high yield rates and short cycle times. They are compatible with a wide range of coatings and decoration processes for designing unique surfaces, logos and other signature details. Laser-etched patterns transfer easily from steel molds,” says Michael Schmidt.

Smart air conditioning system
The Casarte air conditioner features intelligent recognition and air zoning. It comes with sensors that can detect the location of people in a room and perceive temperatures in humans so it can intelligently control the air flow and temperature in different zones based on the needs of people.

Strategic partnership
This is not the first time for Covestro’s innovative material solutions to be used in Haier products. The partnership was already forged at Haier’s foundation in 1984, when Covestro (at that time Bayer) began supplying raw materials to Haier for the thermal insulation of refrigerators. In October 2017, Covestro and Haier signed a global strategic cooperation agreement on the expansion of their decade-long partnership to a global scale, by constantly developing advanced products featuring the latest material solutions to address the market demands of the global home appliances industry.

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