HS Sheet reflects solar radiation, thus reducing cabin temperature
New roof film reduces solar heat in car cabin Taking the heat off : HS Sheet is an opaque film that is applied to the roof of a vehicle

HOT and bothered when you drive? You are a potential market for a new product intended to improve the efficiency of a vehicle's air-conditioning system, and thus reduce energy costs.

The new roof film, called HS Sheet, is marketed by Film Trading Industries - a company which has been in the business of selling and installing the Rike Cool brand of automotive window film that is applied to a vehicle's glass surfaces to reduce the solar heat and glare entering the cabin.

Unlike window film, HS Sheet is an opaque film that is applied to the roof of a vehicle. HS stands for 'heat screening', and the system works on the same principle of providing superior heat insulation by reflecting solar radiation. Like window film, it lowers the temperature inside the vehicle.

HS Sheet was launched in Japan four years ago by Riken Technos. It uses a special heat-insulating pigment and hollow ceramic beads to reflect the heat from the sun, and insulate the object onto which it is affixed.

Riken also claims it has superior weather resistance, with no significant changes to the film observed after 6,000 hours of testing with a device called a weatherometer.

HS Sheet is already used on the roofs of tour buses and container trucks in Japan, as well as on bus stop shelters, chemical tanks and mobile phone base transceiver stations.

It is available in different colours including white, grey, ivory, black and yellow; if the last shade sounds unusual, it is because one of Riken's biggest customers is Japan's Hato Bus Co, which has trademark yellow coaches.

'HS Sheet prevents heat build-up inside the bus, so when drivers park or stop, they can turn off the engine and still feel cool,' explains Leong Kar Foo, assistant marketing manager of Marubeni Chemical Asia Pacific, which distributes HS Sheet here. 'This helps to reduce exhaust heat and gas, thus benefiting the environment.'

In Singapore, Film Trading Industries director David Lee is also targeting commercial vehicle fleet owners.

'We are looking at those who drive coach buses, small panel vans like the Renault Kangoo, and other light commercial vehicles,' says Mr Lee. 'The HS Sheet will help them to reduce the interior temperature, especially in this warm tropical climate.'

He adds that a further application is also possible for those commercial vehicle owners who install the HS Sheet on their vans, trucks and buses.

'It can be used for advertising purposes because the HS Sheet can be printed on, and business owners may like to display their company logo or product on it,' he says.

For now, however, Mr Lee is not planning to target passenger car owners because of the limited range of colours.

But a senior executive of a popular Japanese dealership thinks this may be a good idea.

'It is a novel concept because film suppliers usually only think of glass when looking at ways to combat the tropical heat,' he says. 'They often forget that the metal roof gets hot because it is exposed to sunlight all the time. And even though a car's headliner already has insulating material, the HS Sheet, when applied to the outside, can prevent the metal roof from absorbing any heat in the first place.'

He says the HS Sheet can also lend aesthetic appeal to a car by providing a contrasting roof colour or a graphic design. In addition, it will protect against bird droppings or tree sap.

The executive adds: 'And for taller passenger vehicles like SUVs or MPVs, the HS Sheet will not compromise the car's looks.'

For more information, call Film Trading Industries. Tel: 6744-2388