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Compounder RTP Company (Winona, MN) says it is helping to address the global shortage of polyetherimide (PEI) by offering a number of thermoplastic compounds that serve as viable alternatives.

December 3, 2014

2 Min Read
Global PEI shortage prompts compounder to offer alternatives

Compounder RTP Company (Winona, MN) says it is helping to address the global shortage of polyetherimide (PEI) by offering a number of thermoplastic compounds that serve as viable alternatives.

In November this year, Sabic Innovative Plastics (Pittsfield, MA), the producer of Ultem PEI resins, announced significant shortages of the amorphous, high temperature resin through to quarter two of 2015 on account of "continued rapid growth" and a scheduled outage at its Mt. Vernon production facility planned for April 2015 in order to optimize the production plants.

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PEI resin shortage could be alleviated through customized compounds based on widely available base resins.

RTP's solution is to tailor amorphous resins based on sulfone, such as polyethersulfone (PES), polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) and polysulfone (PSU), and semicrystalline materials like polyphthalamide (PPA), polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) and polyetheretherketone (PEEK), which are available from multiple base resin producers. Compounding alternatives to replace PEI in specific applications can be accomplished through modification, alloying, and/or reinforcing in order to achieve very similar physical properties to PEI. Engineers from RTP can reportedly customize and fine-tune these compounds to meet specific application requirements including offering compounds in custom colors.

RTP Company is hosting a webinar entitled "Alternatives to PEI and PEI Compounds" on Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 10:00am CST to discuss these options; a recorded version will be available after the live session.

"Since the supply of PEI has tightened, molders and OEMs have been forced to manage risks such as long lead times and supply disruptions," explains Matt Torosian, RTP Company Product Manager of High Temperature Materials. "RTP Company has created a range of compounds with similar characteristics to PEI that are not dependent on a single supplier of base resin. By doing so, our customers have benefitted from a larger selection of material options, greater design flexibility, and far fewer interruptions in material supply."

Because PEI has excellent dimensional stability, chemical resistance, strength, stiffness, inherent flame retardancy and creep resistance, selecting a replacement requires a thorough understanding of the application requirements. Once these requirements have been identified, RTP engineers can recommend compounds that fit the requirements, along with added benefits such as color. To support transition to a new material RTP also provides on-site technical service and CAE support including mold flow analysis, FEA and fiber orientation analysis.

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