Chicago—MicroGREEN Polymers (MGP; Arlington, WA) is pushing towards the commercialization of its microcellular expansion technology for resin, seeking licensees and displaying a joint-development application at the recently completed Pack Expo (Nov. 9-13; McCormick Place; Chicago). In addition to material samples, Thomas Malone, MGP CEO, showed MPW a cup overwrap made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) that was exhibited at Paper Machinery’s Pack Expo stand.
The technology originally grew out of research at the University of Washington, which has extended exclusive rights to MGP to commercialize. The process sends extruded sheet and roll stock through a pressure vessel, which applies carbon dioxide to the material, trapping the gas within the polymer. The sheet is then heated and the carbon dioxide released in a controlled fashion, which Malone says allows it to control the size and location of the bubbles, going as far as allowing a smooth skin and multiple foam cores in even very thin sheets. Ultimately it means processors can use a lot less resin (up to 50%) in applications, with the technology successfully applied in materials as disparate as rPET and Ultem polyetherimide.
Malone said MGP has signed on two contract manufacturers in Wisconsin to develop product and promote commercialization, but the ultimate goal is to have licensees take the technology in house. The company, which has identified a potential market of $46 billion, already has licensees in the electronics industry, specifically makers of LCD display that use the technology to create components that reflect lights for flatscreens.—[email protected]