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An appropriate piece of advice from a company specialized in the development and production of masterbatches, special compounds and blends designed to enhance the properties of biobased and petroleum-based plastics. Switzerland-based Sukano AG is a master of the science needed to combine just the right ingredients to solve problems and add value to materials. And because its products are highly concentrated, only very small amounts are needed to achieve the desired effect.

Karen Laird

October 21, 2013

2 Min Read
K 2013: Add a little. Gain a lot, says Sukano

At the K fair, Thomas Weigl, CEO at Sukano, talked about the company's latest foray into new territory: fibers and filaments. Sukano's knowhow was hitherto mainly in packaging and bottling so Weigl says the company invested in new personnel and hired the expertise they needed in this new area.

In an exclusive collaboration with the Swiss textile performance expert HeiQ Materials, Sukano has developed a new range of silver-based controlled-release antimicrobial masterbatches based on patented technology developed by HeiQ for odor control in polyester and polyamide fibers. "Because this is a skin contact application, we had to ensure perfect dispersion," he said.

With the new antimicrobial masterbatches, silver is integrated into the polymer. Manufacturers can therefore spin pre-dyed fibers with a permanent antimicrobial effect. "This is a huge advantage. Normally, the antimicrobial is on the textile, rather than in the textile. Our masterbatch doesn't wash or wear off."

The masterbatch has already been successfully used with PA6, PET and PBT, while a masterbatch for PP  - a much-used fiber in swimwear - is under development. Sukano says that in the future, it will also be looking at injection-molding non-fiber applications for its new antimicrobial product.

"We're also taking advantage of our new expertise in fibers to develop other masterbatches for fibers, too," Weigl said.

Also on display at the stand was Sukano's "Forever Young" masterbatch portfolio for recycled PET, containing an optical brightener, melt strength enhancer, impact modifier, a slip/antiblock and color masterbatch and a foaming agent, Converters can use the products individually or combine several functionalities in a single masterbatch. "These batch colors and additives are on a polyester basis - no polyolefins are used - so no contamination occurs. They're food contact compliant. Using this 'toolbox' we can achieve qualities that are comparable to virgin."

The company was also showcasing its "evolution of a revolution," as Weigl phrased it. 25 years ago, Sukano launched its first slip/antiblock combi-batch for polyester. "We've now developed a slip/antiblock combi-batch for polyamide targeted at technical packaging applications," he declared. "The additive migrates to the surface during processing, which serves to prevent stacks of sheets, or stacked cups, from clinging together."

What sets this apart from comparable products is that Sukano has combined the two masterbatches into a single one - thus reducing costs - but has successfully maintained transparency.

"It's our differentiator," Weigl said. "Our USP."

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