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Dow’s Sustain for wire and cable is PVC and halogen free, satisfies industry standards

Based on lightweight olefin-based elastomers, a new line of resins comes with four grades targeting non-polyvinyl chloride- (PVC) based and halogen-free wire jacketing and insulation. Dow Chemical's Wire & Cable business unit claims its Sustain line is also the first to meet key sector requirements, UL 62, JCS4509, and HD21.14, on a commercial scale. Sample quantities of the four grades are available for producers of wires, cables, and cord sets for use in personal electronics and appliances.

Dow said it has undertaken a significant investment over the last three years in developing the halogen-free compounds, bringing them to market at a time when many OEMs are looking to eliminate halogen-based flame retardants and vinyl from their products. Dow noted that Sustain exhibits good chemical resistivity, low corrosive off gassing during fires, and flexibility that eases handling during manufacturing, while contributing to the overall look and feel of the end product.

Dow Wire & Cable worked with Shenzhen BaoHing Electric Wire & Cable Manufacture Co. Ltd. and power cord manufacturer Volex Group plc to trial Sustain in actual manufacturing conditions. Chris Rutherford, VP of Global Supply Chain at Volex said that the new compound allowed production rates similar to PVC with only minor investments for extruder screw design and drying conditions.

Dow said it plans to extend Sustain's technology beyond the personal electronics segment and is planning a transition of the Unigard RE brand into the Dow Sustain family. On March 31, 2008, Dow Wire & Cable introduced in Europe Unigard RE HFDA-1492, a reduced-emissions flame retardant compound for use in wires and cables. That product was based on a colorable, peroxide-crosslinkable, polyethylene copolymer insulation compound.

Marking the continuing transition away from PVC as a base material and halogen-containing flame retardants, computer and printer firm, HP, announced on Sept. 10, the pending introduction of "the world's first PVC printer," the HP ENVY 100 e-All-in-One. Dow is competing in this space with SABIC Innovative Plastics and its flexible Noryl, a modified polyphenylene oxide (PPO). Earlier this year, the company announced that Chiangyu Electric, a Chinese wire and cable manufacturer, was switching to flexible Noryl resin for wire cables into high-end direct current (DC) charger and data cables. [email protected]

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