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April 23, 2016

3 Min Read
Chinaplas: DuPont upsizes China compounding plant, debuts nylon grade that revs up sports car engine sound

DuPont is in the process of relocating its China engineering plastics compounding plant from its current site in Shenzhen to a new facility located in the Guangming New District, also located in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. The compounding facility will be DuPont’s largest globally, with scope for further expansion to boot, although DuPont declined to provide details of capacity. The plant is due to be inaugurated within the next three months.

DuPont’s Hanck: Expecting strong demand growth for engineering plastics in auto under-the-hood and metal replacement applications.

Apollo: DuPont’s massive new compounding facility will launch production operations in Shenzhen
later this year.

The site will compound Zytel polyamides, Crastin polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), Delrin polyacetal (POM), Bynel anhydride-modified linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) adhesive resins, and Fusabond maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (PP) resins commonly used as coupling agents, among others.

Commenting on the timing of the expansion, Philippe Hanck, Business Director, DuPont Performance Materials, Asia Pacific, noted that demand growth for DuPont products is not necessarily reflected by overall economic growth in China given their specialty nature and the country’s migration to higher added value manufacturing. He still sees strong growth potential amid China’s “new normal.” Citing one example, Hanck noted: “With regards to metal replacement [in automotive], we always think that we are done, but new opportunities continue to emerge.”

Speaking at a pre-Chinaplas media event in Shanghai, Hanck also presented details of a new polyamide grade for air-intake resonator applications. Zytel Plus 95G35 is a glass-fiber-reinforced material tuned to reduce the typical high-frequency air intake sound to a lower level. It also offers better long-term resistance to high temperatures and aggressive fluids typical of under-the-hood applications.

The resonator was developed via a collaborative effort by DuPont, BMW and Tier I Mann + Hummel. The latter used its expertise in hot-gas welding to assemble two injection-molded parts—the perforated interior tube as well as an outer tube measuring about 40 cm in length with integrated fittings for fuel tank ventilation and blow-by inlet—to create the broad-band resonator. An additional air duct including an elastic bellows segment, made of an unreinforced soft nylon grade, is then mounted to connect the resonator to the air intake filter, while the system’s opposite end fits to the intake side of the turbo charger.

DuPont Zytel Plus enables the resonator to have long-term resistance to temperatures from -40°C to 190°C as well as hot engine gases and fluids. As Florian Janiak, Polymer Specialist/Global Production Strategy, Mann + Hummel, comments: “In light of the high-temperature environment due to close proximity to the exhaust gas system and direct contact with chemicals such as road salt, we quickly ruled out standard polyamide materials for this demanding application due to their insufficient long-term heat and chemical resistance. DuPont Zytel Plus 95G35 performs well in such a hot and confined operating environment and what’s more, it retains most of its weld strength even after extended exposure to very high temperatures, where traditional materials would drop significantly. We also found it very easy to mold and weld in our hot gas process.”

DuPont’s proprietary Shield technology employed in the production of Zytel Plus combines several innovations including a new polymer backbone, polymer modifications and a special set of additives that can double or triple the service life of standard polyamide on exposure to hot environments and aggressive chemicals such as hot oil, automotive coolants and road salt. DuPont Zytel Plus 95G35, the core product of the Zytel Plus family, shows no significant drop in its ability to withstand load—even over 4,000 hours of testing at 180°C—whereas a traditional PA 66 GF35’s ability to withstand load is cut to less than half. This resilience makes it attractive for use in cylinder head covers, resonators, exhaust mufflers and oil pans.

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