Global engineering thermoplastics vendor the Polyplastics Group is but one of numerous resin suppliers targeting carbon neutrality by 2050. What will interest converters immediately, however, is a stable of sustainable performance products for applications in a range of industries, from automotive and packaging to medical.
Among options on show at K 2022 in Düsseldorf, Germany, in October was a polyacetal resin polymerized from sustainable methanol. Under the ISCC PLUS mass-balance approach, the sustainable bG-POM option is applicable to a range of Duracon grades, including the Duracon PM line of medical resins.
Another sustainable option is Plastron LFT (long-fiber thermoplastic) resin, which is made of specially formulated regenerated cellulose fibers. The eco-friendly Plastron LFT provides weight reduction plus mechanical strength, enabling manufacturers to reduce their carbon footprint and meet today’s sustainability demands. “This material has a higher fiber content than its glass-fiber-reinforced equivalent, but because the density of cellulose is only 1.3 compared with 2.5 for glass, in the end you achieve close to the strength of glass but at a lighter weight,” said Dr. Gerhard Reuschel, Marketing & Sales Manager, Plastron LFT projects. “The composite density is 1.02 for cellulosics versus 1.12 at 30% filler for glass fiber.”
Cellulosic fibers also better maintain their length during processing, so it is easier to add regrind without compromising part quality, according to Polyplastics. “Fiber-length distribution can be critical in complex parts,” noted Reuschel. “Cellulosic fiber is more robust and maintains its length but you do need to ensure sound processing so as not to overheat the fibers, as they will burn.
“We already have multiple active projects underway [for Plastron LFT in general] in Europe,” added Reuschel. “Molding trials have proved very successful for a Plastron LFT long-carbon-fiber polyamide grade in a personal lifestyle application, while a second project involves a long-glass-fiber polyamide applied to agricultural machinery.” Moving forward, Polyplastics plans to aggressively push polyamide LFT grades in automotive applications.
Furthermore, Polyplastics’ Topas cyclic olefin copolymer (COC), a leading material in the packaging and healthcare industries, is also enabling sustainable packaging solutions. Here, Topas COC has raised the performance of commodity polyolefins (polyethylene for example), enabling the development of simpler, more recyclable and sustainable solutions. Mono-material film structures based on PE and enhanced with Topas COC are more easily recyclable than multi-material solutions using layers of PET or other PE-incompatible plastics.
Finally, Polyplastics has developed a grade of polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) that incorporates recycled content. Compounded in Europe, rG-PBT is in effect a glass-fiber-reinforced alloy because the recycled component is derived from PET bottles.