Industry Insights
How Hardcoat Films Protect Electronics and Other Advanced Materials Products January 4, 2016 | by Brian Pahl, Business Development Manager, Carestream Contract Manufacturing

Protective films for displays, touch screens and other consumer electronic devices help prevent damage from everyday mishaps – ultimately saving consumers and business owners from costly repair and replacement costs. Hardcoated films improve performance and protect against abrasions, scratches and chemicals by imparting a durable, scratch-resistant surface that looks and wears like glass when adhered to any product surface. The attributes delivered by hardcoat films, combined with the increasing reliance on electronic devices, have set the stage for growth in this segment of the coating industry.

Hardcoat films can be applied either to finished products or during manufacturing processes. Typical hardcoat film constructions consist of a substrate film and hardcoat layer. The substrate film is commonly composed of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polycarbonate (PC), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) or cyclic olefin polymer (COP). The hardcoat layer often contains polymers, monomers that are later cured, nanoparticles or various other chemistries.

Carestream Contract Manufacturing has applied the knowledge gained from our work in performance-critical industries to devise a stringent hardness testing process for hardcoat films. Our hardcoat projects undergo a rigorous production release test, which includes hardness testing as well as evaluations of coating thickness, chemical resistance, flexibility, cleanliness and optical properties. These exacting guidelines apply to every roll in the production environment – ensuring that the process and product quality meet customer expectations.

Carestream’s hardcoated film construction features a proprietary hardcoat formulation and delivers reduced iridescence. Attributes of our hardcoat films include:

  • Abrasion resistance.
  • Scratch resistance featuring typical 3H pencil hardness.
  • Advanced constructions featuring 6H and 9H pencil hardness.
  • Optical clarity with less than 0.3% haze typical and neutral color.
  • Chemical resistance.
  • Wide range of constructions and alternate plastic substrates.
  • Manufactured in a clean room environment.

Potential hardcoat applications include:

  • Protective films used for touch screens and flat panels.
  • Consumer product cover glass replacement to protect non-chemically strengthened glass, provide scratch resistance for PMMA and polycarbonate lenses, and enable glass replacement on LCD displays.
  • Improved membrane and capacitive switch wear layers.
  • Appliance and automotive decorative films.
  • Point of purchase (POP) and Point of Information (POI) displays.
  • Additional value-added layers and performance, including UV protection, anti-microbial and photovoltaic use.

The need for hardcoat films featuring abrasion and scratch resistance, combined with high optical clarity, will continue to rise. Carestream’s contract coating services for hardcoated PET films and other substrates can dramatically improve the performance and economics of display, electronic, optical and graphic coatings.

For additional information on our hardcoat services, visit: or download our Carestream Hardcoat Film Product Datasheet. For questions, contact Brian Pahl.




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