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Borouge Innovation Center newest link in company's value-creation chain

Polyolefins giant Borouge, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, is dedicated to "value creation through innovation," says Product Development Manager Balakantha Rao Kona. "Through innovation we create value not just for our customers, but for everyone in the value chain, including brand owners and end users," adds Kona. The company's brand new Innovation Center represents a key link in that mission.

Polyolefins giant Borouge, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, is dedicated to "value creation through innovation," says Product Development Manager Balakantha Rao Kona. "Through innovation we create value not just for our customers, but for everyone in the value chain, including brand owners and end users," adds Kona. The company's brand new Innovation Center represents a key link in that mission.

Borouge Innovation Center
Borouge Innovation Center.
More than 70 employees are already at work in the state-of-the-art, 23,000-square-meter facility. "The center has extensive laboratory and application resources, including some 270 specialized tools," says Kona. More broadly, the center is destined to be a focus of innovation in polymer development and applications supported by Borouge's historical expertise in polymers analysis, processing and application testing, and its proprietary technologies such as Borstar and Borlink, says the company. One example, cited by Kona, is Borstar Nucleation Technology (BNT), a process that, he says, is central to Borouge's competitive edge in advanced packaging, automotive and pipe system solutions.
 
Instead of adding a nucleating agent during pelletization, which is the standard industry approach, Borouge obtains nucleation in the polymerization reactor during the production of polypropylene (PP). This has a number of advantages, according to the company, including:
  • consistency—increased stiffness without compromising impact resistance;
  • rapid crystallization at higher temperatures, resulting in shorter cycle times;
  • inertness, with no effect on taste or color;
  • an absence of shrinkage caused by color additives, and uniform shrinkage with all colors.

The process is fully compliant with FDA food-contact regulations

Described as a robust and efficient nucleation system, the BNT process enhances polypropylene and results in extremely fast and uniform crystallization. Hence, converters benefit from shorter cycle times, improved productivity and lower energy consumption per part, according to Borouge. BNT also optimizes the material's stiffness, impact and flow balance properties, so that products can be designed leaner and lighter without compromising mechanical attributes. This leads to a reduction in packaging, material consumption, CO2 emissions, transportation fuel consumption and so forth, says Kona.

Nucleation
From left to right: Non-nucleated, non-BNT-nucleated (two center images) and
BNT-nucleated materials.

Products developed for automotive and advanced packaging applications using the BNT process provide examples of how this technology can add value and improve the sustainability profile.

The BF970AI grade is specifically tailored to meet the requirements of automobile interiors with respect to mechanical properties, shrinkage and UV stability. Its balance of stiffness and impact properties can produce a 10% weight reduction in interior parts, and the material's processability can result in productivity improvements of 10% or more, according to Borouge. Lower processing temperatures result in energy savings, and the material's dimensional stability reduces scrap.
 
In the packaging realm, BorPure HJ311MO was specially designed to address market demands for taste- and odor-free packaging and higher material flow. During processing, BNT enables very fast solidification in the mold, leading to reductions in cycle time and energy consumption. BorPure HJ311MO is suited for take-out food containers, confectionary packaging and microwaveable containers.

In all cases, sustainability is a key consideration for Borouge when it develops new grades, adds Kona. "Sustainability is a broad concept," he says. "When we develop a new grade, we look at the overall environmental, social and economic impact it will have. We measure, as well, the carbon and water footprint, and energy savings.

"In Borouge, customers will find a partner that fully supports sustainability targets," adds Kona. "Our technology enables the design and production of durable, sustainable or reusable products with a reduced carbon footprint," he says, adding that Borouge is fully committed today and into the future in delivering sustainable solutions.

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