Stuttgart—Although in the business for over 50 years, masterbatch and compound producer Granula, based in Switzerland and Germany, has always relied on word of mouth to sell its products. Yet, while the company may be relatively unfamiliar to the broader public, it’s a familiar name to anyone looking for high-quality, customized innovative solutions that are backed up by solid research conducted in cooperation with top European university institutes.
Jürg Weibel, managing director at Granula's Merenschwand plant in Switzerland.
Jürg Weibel, managing director at the Merenschwand plant in Switzerland, explained his company’s decision to take part in MEDTEC Europe (Stuttgart, Germany) this year for the very first time. “We are currently engaged in a number of developments that we want to bring to the attention of the medical plastics community. Up until now, we have supplied our customer base here in Europe, and accompanied these same customers as they have expanded their operations abroad. Word of mouth alone has been enough to build a solid international reputation, but attending a fair like this one, that is wholly aimed at our target market, gives us a good opportunity to present ourselves to a wider public.”
Granula is specialized in masterbatches for food packaging, medical appliances and the automotive industry. Weibel: “We are one of the very few ISO 13485 certified masterbatch producers, a certification which is required for serving the medical industry. We know the special requirements of this very important industry and comply with the stringent regulations applying in the different markets around the world.”
The company is very excited about one of the newest products in the pipeline: a revolutionary anti-microbial that contains no regulated biocide. “We are working on the development of the new additive with a university in northern Germany”, said Weibel. “Currently, we are testing it with customers. After that, it will be ready to launch on the market.”
Because the antimicrobial contains no biocidal agent, the problem of bioaccumulation in the environment is avoided. “The effect is physical, not chemical,” explains Weibel. “No silver- or copper-based product is used.”
The product, which has been tested so far in PMMA and PE/PP, has a surface effect and is therefore suitable for surface applications of all kinds, including in the food industry, where the use of biocides is problematic.
The new additive has a slight color, and will therefore be launched as a colored combibatch solution.
At MEDTEC, Granula also introduced its new cycle time accelerator Accelothene, developed by a start-up Swiss-based company called Swiss Gel. Granula is the first licensee of the product in Europe. Unlike other processing aids of this kind, Accelothene is a non-migrating system.
“Because the molecular structure of Accelothene is compatible with that of the polyolefins, it binds with this on the molecular level, which makes migration impossible,” says Weibel. “It’s a flow enhancer for use with polyolefins only, without the disadvantages that, for example, wax has for the end product. In fact, Accelothene can actually improve the mechanical properties of the end product. “
According to Granula, using Accelothene can reduce energy consumption by 5-10%, improve flow properties and significantly reduce process temperatures. Reductions in cycle times of up to 25% are achieved due to faster crystallization. “For applications such as syringes and other disposables, cycle times are crucial. This is a booster that really does what it says it will,” says Weibel.