FRX ramps up production, opens lab for halogen-free flame retardants

FRX Polymers Inc. (Chelmsford, MA) has started up a 50-ton DPP (DiPhenyl methyl phosphonate) plant and an application lab in support of its new family of inherently flame-retardant transparent polymers and oligomers. The DPP line currently runs on a 24/6 production schedule to produce what is a key raw material in the polymerization process of FRX's polyphosphonate polymers and oligomers.

In a release, Marc Lebel, FRX CEO said the line started production in January. "We have spent the better part of two years developing a high-yield process on a small scale," Lebel said, "and it is very gratifying to see this monomer scale-up so smoothly." The line's output is being used to supply FRX's polymer pilot plant in Chelmsford, MA; its semi-works polymer plant in Domat/Ems, Switzerland; and its polymer partner's plant. Over the first quarter of 2010, FRX hired six new operators to support the start-up of its new monomer plant.

On April 14, the company announced the opening of a 2500-ft2 applications lab to assist in the market development of its products. The lab features a 30-mm, 40 L/D, twin-screw extruder that's designed to handle engineering plastics and reinforcements like glass, mineral fillers, and elastomeric additives. The lab also includes a 30-ton Van Dorn injection molding machine for the production of test specimens. The lab is also equipped with a range of polymer characterization and flame-retardance (FR) testing equipment.

FRX is in the process of commercializing its products in a range of applications, including as melt-processable FR additives for thermoplastics; stand-alone plastics for thin, transparent FR applications; and as reactive FR oligomers for thermoset resins. The oligomer and homopolymer have 10.8% phosphorus content while the phosphorus content of the copolymer varies by the grade.



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