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Karen Laird

April 14, 2016

3 Min Read
DSM to launch new bio-based ForTii Eco grades at Chinaplas

Heeding the call from consumers for more sustainable products, Royal DSM, the Netherlands-based producer of health, nutrition and materials, has announced it is extending its current biobased platform with the introduction of a new family of high performance polyamide 4T materials, called ForTii Eco. Partially produced from renewable resource, the new range of high temperature resistant, bio-based polymers fits with the growing need for faster, thinner and more sustainable devices - specifically in the electronics industry.

ForTii Eco, said the company, was developed in response to the need for new materials able to meet the performance and sustainability requirements of electronic devices, such as the smartphone – a product that becomes around 12% thinner every year, even while speed and functionality continue to increase. DSM is introducing the new bio-based ForTii Eco grades at Chinaplas, Shanghai, April 25-28.

DSM’s entire portfolio for the electronics industry has already long been free of halogens and red phosphorous, with more sustainable materials being used in cables, connectors, frames and antennas in smart devices. Two of the materials in this portfolio, Arnitel Eco (a thermoplastic elastomer) and EcoPaXX (polyamide 410), are partly or fully derived from renewable resources. The new ForTii Eco grades enrich the current bio-based platform, and additionally provide increased performance compared to alternative mineral oil-based solutions. They are able to meet more stringent requirements on properties like flow, mechanical and dielectrical strength than previously possible, even with the “existing” ForTii grades, which already exhibit performance outperforming with other polyamides.

These new grades offer higher flow and an improved processing window, combined with a high level of toughness and full resistance to high temperature soldering. Competing semi-aromatic polyamides such as PA6T and PA10T have lower flow and lower toughness (to varying degrees).

“This is an important development for processors because the new grades, with their improved processing characteristics, will help them reduce their costs while still being able to produce parts that meet OEM requirements,” said John Hsieh, marketing manager connectors. “The OEMs themselves will appreciate the marketing benefits of bio-based materials, and the ability to design thinner parts.”

Next to toughness, ForTii Eco also features a low sensitivity to moisture, which ensures that its outstanding mechanical and dielectrical properties are retained even in the conditioned state.

“As data transmission speeds continue to rise, there is a growing need in the market for insulating materials like ForTii that have a stable dielectric constant and loss tangent to limit signal losses,” Konraad Dullaert, business manager ForTii, pointed out.

The polymer in the new grades is 30%-60% derived from renewable resources. DSM uses castor beans as the basis for the C10 chemistry that it incorporates. The grades have a bio-content ranging from 10% to 25% by weight on a compound basis.

The first three grades in the family are ForTii Eco E11, ForTii Eco E61 and ForTii Eco LDS62. They can provide halogen-free solutions for parts with thinner walls, demonstrate very good flow and excellent mechanical and dielectrical properties. Key applications for ForTii Eco E11 and ForTii Eco E61 include surface-mount technology (SMT) connectors, such as the new USB-C, and also audio jacks; ForTii Eco LDS62 is well suited for use in RFID security casings, and the switches found in many portable electronic devices.

The ForTii Eco LDS62 grade is particularly suitable for the production of antennas for mobile electronics, as it contains a special technology that enables very fine and precise electrical circuitry to be incorporated using laser direct structuring, LDS. Parts molded from ForTii Eco LDS62 have very good dielectrics, good surface quality and a high degree of mechanical robustness.

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