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Advanced Polymer Monitoring Technologies commercializes smart manufacturing process analyzers

Advanced Polymer Monitoring Technologies Inc. (APMT; New Orleans, LA), a spin-out company based on Tulane University technology, has released two products for polymer and biotechnology applications. APMT entered into an exclusive license agreement with Tulane for a number of patents and patent applications invented by Prof. Wayne F. Reed, Director, Tulane Center for Polymer Reaction Monitoring and Characterization (PolyRMC).

APMT develops, manufactures and distributes products and services for the real-time monitoring and control of polymer reactions across all synthetic and natural polymer sectors from R&D through high-volume industrial production.

The underlying technology for APMT's automatic continuous online monitoring of polymer reactions (ACOMP) product line, was developed in Prof. Reed's lab over the past 16 years. The commercialization of this technology allows polymer producers to monitor fundamental polymer properties continuously during the manufacturing process, enabling more efficient control over the quality of the product and the use of production, feedstock and energy inputs.

APMT CEO Alex Reed (no relation to Prof. Reed), in a telephone interview with PlasticsToday, explained that the company's customers are the resin producers. "So far we've only adapted this to specialty plastics and are in the process of selling into the polyolefin market," said Reed.

"During the reaction process we're monitoring the properties of the plastics being produced in real time," Reed explained. "Typically these measurements would be done off line, but they are very complex and it can take a while to perform the measurements. The fundamental properties of polymer are better measured as close to the formation of the polymer as possible. Typically, there are not a lot of issues but when changing grades of polymer it can be time-consuming, waiting for the lab to do the testing, etc. APMT replaces the need for lab measurement—we get a more robust indication of the properties early in the process."

For processors, this can be extremely helpful. "There will be a lot less off-spec material ending up at the processor's facility using APMT [technology]," said Reed. "That's a big selling point for us because the resin producers have innovated a lot on the chemistry side. As they are pushing out new product, the need for better control is there, as well. The resin users—the processors—want better and different properties, and being able to control these smarter materials is key."

APMT's other product line, Argen, is a 16-channel light-scattering tool that enables researchers and polymer manufacturers to rapidly and continuously monitor the stability of their products under varying stressor conditions. Argen applications include characterization of biopharmaceutical stability, polymer degradation and stability of other formulations such as paints, electronics materials and nano-particle suspensions. The technology enabling the Argen product line was also developed by Prof. Reed's team at Tulane.

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