Covestro AG

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- story by MaterialDistrict

If you can imagine it, you can make it with Arfinio®. This solid surface technology from Covestro and Arcesso Dynamics enables seamless solid surfaces and brings impossible designs to life. Its high degree of scalability makes creating even complex shapes easy. Being truly seamless, Arfinio® has no joints or structural weak points, opening up new vistas in customization with tailor-made colouration and gloss levels, enabling designers to expand beyond an otherwise limited range of designs.

Arfinio® is a revolution in solid-surface manufacturing. It is a new manufacturing technology based on reaction injection moulding (RIM), a method that enables the development of truly seamless pieces in an industrialized way. Traditional RIM-produced materials are made with aromatic polyurethanes, which require a coating and are not light-stable. This makes them difficult to repair and limits their potential applications. However, until recently, RIM was only possible with this chemistry.

Together, Covestro and Arcesso were able to adapt the RIM process for aliphatic chemistry – something previously considered impossible. Using this method, they were able to create a material combining the benefits of solid surfaces and injection moulding, and overcoming their limitations. High-performance polymers and minerals are used to produce lightweight solid-surface materials without requiring sheets.

The injection moulding results in truly seamless surfaces, making them highly suitable for elements with built-in fittings like a shower plate or wash basin. Arfinio® comes in countless colours and gloss-levels and is incredibly lightweight – even the heaviest version is still 40% lighter than standard solid surface materials.

The moulded solid surfaces can be used to make everything from device casings to interior cladding and building facades to applications involving backlighting or the integration of electronics. This technology is particularly well suited for manufacturing products that are regularly exposed to water such as shower plates or bathtubs, because the resulting surfaces are non-slip, hygienic and easy to clean. Arfinio® also has highly effective insulating properties, thanks to its outstanding thermal coefficient when compared to standard solid surfaces.

Reaction injection moulding (RIM) saves time and is less complicated than solid sheet manufacturing. A specially designed mould creates the shape in a single step, so there is no need for thermoforming, CNC cutting, and gluing.

Design benefits at a glance:

  • Warm and pleasant haptics
  • Lighting effects for warmer and more modern looks
  • Interactive surfaces that allow charging possibilities
  • Built-in fittings for ready-to-install products
  • 40% lighter than standard materials
  • Easy colouration for small- and large-scale series
  • Very high chemical and mechanical resistance

Sustainability is a key criterion for any design or manufacturing task. Arfinio® makes it possible to use partially bio-based raw materials to create cladding for interiors, bathroom elements, fittings for lighting and much more – all of which helps to close the carbon loop. High impact resistance and easy repairability in case it is needed ensure these products have a long service life, after which they can be mechanically recycled into new Arfinio® products.

Material Properties