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Although much of the talk in the run up to the world''s biggest plastic exhibition in the material''s arena has focused more on who isn''t going to be in Dusseldorf versus who is, the materials companies that are coming still plan on generating a buzz with the latest resins, additives, and masterbatches.Dow emphasizing polyolefin innovations

July 1, 2004

14 Min Read
Putting the Kunststoff into K

Although much of the talk in the run up to the world''s biggest plastic exhibition in the material''s arena has focused more on who isn''t going to be in Dusseldorf versus who is, the materials companies that are coming still plan on generating a buzz with the latest resins, additives, and masterbatches.

Dow emphasizing polyolefin innovations

The theme of Dow''s exhibit is "Experience Innovation," and it will highlight the company''s portfolio, as well as its consultative approaches for converting business challenges into market opportunities. Latest performance-differentiated brands include Versify plastomers and elastomers, Inclosia Solutions, and Inspire propylene-based performance polymers.

New catalyst technology is at the heart of the Versify range of propylene-ethylene copolymer plastomers and elastomers, designed to improve optics, sealing, hot-tack performance, elasticity, flexibility, and softness for flexible and rigid packaging producers, manufacturers of thermoplastic elastomers and olefins, and converters in the consumer products sector.

According to Kurt Swogger, VP for plastics R&D, Versify polymers have a unique polymer architecture that differentiates them from typical Ziegler-Natta catalyst-based and metallocene catalyst-based copolymers of propylene. "The new narrow molecular weight distribution and broad crystallinity distribution result in improved temperature performance against comparable metallocene products. The broad crystallinity distribution results in broad melting behaviour—a high melting shoulder is maintained even as the overall crystallinity of the polymer decreases."

For film producers, for example, the polymers'' low modulus, good heat resistance, and excellent optics produce films with very high clarity and sparkle that offer a soft-touch feel, which is dry and nonrubbery. They also have excellent adhesion to ethylene and propylene polymers and low-noise characteristics.

For producers of rigid packaging and consumer durables, the range additionally provides low heat-seal initiation and a broad sealing window, resulting in flexible, transparent, and heat sealable parts.

Dow currently has developmental projects underway with several customers and has plans to convert existing facilities in order to produce Versify plastomers and elastomers on a commercial scale in the second half of 2004. www.dow.com

Styrenics, engineering plastics, PURs, and pigments from BASF

Thanks to a special process developed by JSO (Toulouse, France), BASF''s super-lightweight Basotect melamine foam can now be used in aircraft seats. Several airlines have already fitted the new seat-cushion in their aircraft.

BASF will show improved types of styrenic polymers like Styrolux styrene-butadiene copolymer and Styroflex SB-based TPE. For standard styrenics, the highlight is the Colorflexx service—developed with partner companies providing masterbatches, dosage equipment, and mixing elements—that enables customers to do their own coloring.

In the company''s portfolio of engineering plastics new grades of Ultrason (polysulfones and polyethersulfones) have been developed. Some of them are now being used in films used for the production of LCDs. New Ultramid nylon grades for automotive applications like the first truck-oil sump made of thermoplastics will be highlighted.

In polyurethanes, one focus will be on the SPS steel-polyurethane sandwich systems that are used in ship and bridge building. Innovative ideas for motor encapsulation and for pipeline insulation will also be presented.

Technology highlights include collar joining for plastics/metal composites, and computer simulation techniques to predict performance in use. BASF''s new products and concepts for powder injection molding (PIM) will be shown for the first time to a wider public. www.basf.com

DuPont''s new engineering thermoplastic vulcanizates

Twenty years after its last new-product launch in the TPE arena with Alcryn, DuPont is unveiling a new class of engineering thermoplastic vulcanizates for demanding automotive and industrial applications. DuPont ETPV, an alloy of a high-temperature nylon in a highly crosslinked polyester elastomer, is said to combine many desirable characteristics of cross-linked rubbers with those of thermoplastic elastomers. The range will complement DuPont''s existing Hytrel polyester-based TPEs. Alcryn is a registered trademark of Ferro Corporation and is available from the Advanced Polymer Alloys Division of Ferro. For more information on Alcryn visit www.APAinfo.com.

DuPont ETPV is intended especially for applications where high resistance to heat and fluids is required. Parts resist oil, grease, and chemicals over a temperature range of -40 to 160C; further testing up to 170C is under way. Targeted under-the-hood automotive applications include ducts and hoses; ignition seals; two-component seals and body plugs; hydraulic hoses; and inboard constant-velocity-joint (CVJ) boots.

Supplied in the form of pellets, DuPont ETPV is suitable for injection molding, blowmolding, extrusion, or multicomponent molding on standard thermoplastic processing equipment. Initially, two grades are available with Shore A hardnesses of 60 and 90. Both grades are available in standard (1000 hours at 150C) and heat-stabilized (3000 hours at 150C) versions. DuPont, ww.dupont.com

From GLS, soft-touch adhesion for modified nylons

New grades of specialty alloys offer a soft touch in thermoplastic elastomer and urethane formats, while promising superior adhesion and overmolding compatibility with modified nylons, polycarbonate, ABS, and PC/ABS.

Targeting K 2004 for rollout, GLS Corp. (McHenry, IL) will introduce its Versaflex OM 6100 series of nylon overmolding TPEs and its new Versollan line of rubberized TPU alloys.

The Versaflex material is specially designed to bond with standard and modified nylons that have undergone heat stabilization, lubrication, and impact modification. GLS says the material offers a soft touch, a dull matte finish, good surface quality, and the ability to be colored. Applications include grips, nonslip surfaces, overmolded seals or gaskets, and noise reduction in markets ranging from lawn and garden to sports and leisure.

Versollan wil be introduced with two grades (RU 2204, 2205) and can adhere to PC, ABS, and PC/ABS in insert- or overmolded parts. The material''s softness, ranging from 55 to 65 Shore A, is suited to grips in demanding applications like power tools, garden equipment, handheld electronics, and sports products. GLS Corp., www.glscorp.com

Solvay''s vulcanized TPEs have range of hardness

A series of nine vulcanized thermoplastic elastomers, NexPrene 9000, employs a proprietary curing technology for crosslinking the elastomer phase. This results in a material with soft touch but good brightness. Hardness ranges from 40 Shore A to 50 Shore D. Delivered in natural color with a yellowness index of less than 16, the materials can be easily colored. Bright whites are obtained with concentrations of titanium dioxide as low as .5%. It exhibits low fogging levels caused by out-gassing. Unlike thermoplastic rubber products, NexPrene 9000 eliminates predrying requirements. Solvay Engineered Polymers www.solvayengineeredpolymers.com

Elastogran promoting honeycombs

Elastoflex E polyurethane can be used to make high-strength lightweight composites by spraying it over a cardboard honeycomb sandwiched between two layers of glass fiber mat and then hot-pressing the assembly . The result is rigid, robust, tough, impact-resistant, and capable of withstanding huge strain. Typical applications include car boot spaces, spare wheel covers, hat racks, and sunroofs. Composites in the boot space in a Mercedes M-Class cope with a load weighing 250kg without buckling or denting. Elastogran, www.elastogran.de

Atofina fluoropolymer coating helps protect metal parts

Kynar Flex 2850PC polyvinylidene fluoride coats steel and aluminium to protect in highly corrosive environments. It resists acids, ozone, and halogens. The powder can be applied by dry, electrostatic spray.

It meets both U.S. Pharmacopeia and FDA food-contact regulations making it suitable for coating equipment used in the medical, food, chemical, and semiconductor industries.

Grade 2850PC, which includes no additives, has inherent flame retardancy and thermal stability as well as high abrasion resistance. The smooth, high-gloss surface enhances its low extraction characteristics and reduces the danger of micro-organic deposits and growth. Atofina, www.atofina.com

Good flexibility at low temperatures highlights PB-1

Two polybutene-1 grades for heating and plumbing applications provide high chemical resistance, easy weldability, and low noise emission. The linear, highly isotactic, semicrystalline polymer remains flexible even during cold weather. Grade PB4238 white has just come onto the market and will be followed in time for K 2004 with a beige grade, PB4260. They exhibit good creep resistance, have a low memory effect, and create light and easy-to-lay pipes. Basell Polyolefins, www.basell.com

Energy cable requires high purity polyethylene

Supercure LS4201 crosslinkable compound for medium-, high-, and extremely-high-voltage underground power transmission cable helps increase production speed. It has improved ability to degas during extrusion through removal of crosslinking by-products such as methane, which can cause problems if left within the matrix. Time taken to degas a cable generally depends on by-product levels. Traditionally degassing has been accelerated by increasing the processing temperature which can also raise the demand on energy or cause cable core damage.

Gustaf Akermark, VP wire & cable at the producer, says the grade facilitates degassing via inclusion of a proprietary additives package and high polymer purity. The material has low propensity for scorch. Akermark says throughput improvements depend on cable design and size, but as an example, output of a 12-mm-thick cable wall was increased by 25% using this grade compared to the previous one. Borealis A/S www.borealisgroup.com

Microfluidics made easy with Ticona COC polymer

Drug discovery, diagnostics, analytics, and environmental monitoring rely on microfluidic components in many complex devices. Topas cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) has the strength, stiffness, heat resistance, and dimensional stability for such applications. Supplier of microstructured components, thinXXS (Zweibrucken, Germany) has selected the material for microstructured components such as its XXS2000 micropump, which transports tiny quantities of liquids. The unit is no larger than a € 1 coin (22 mm diameter) and weighs 3g. The Piezo-driven diaphragm pump is used to transport liquid or gas in diagnostics or fuel cells for mobile applications. The polymer''s chemical resistance prevents pump damage even from aggressive media. It can be welded and sterilized without loss of mechanical properties. Ticona www.ticona.com

ExxonMobil''s new Exceed grades for sensitive film

Two new grades of Exxon Mobil Exceed metallocene LLDPE are suitable for sensitive lamination film and coextruded film applications. Exceed 1018LC and 1018LE offer very low gel levels, as measured with an optical camera system. Gel content in lamination films can cause optical imperfections, printing, and sealing problems. The issues can be worse in coextruded films with gels causing breaks, inhibiting down gauging, and reducing mechanical strength. The new grades are improved versions of two already commercial, Exceed 1018CA and 1018EB, so that users likely will not have to requalify the new grades with end users. ExxonMobil, www.exxonmobilchemical.com.

Additives

Pigments tapped for FDA food-contact approval

PV Fast Pink E and E01 high-fastness quinacridone pigments are suitable for a range of applications including food packaging, toys, and consumer goods processed in all types of polymers. The additives are said to be easy to process and have good dispersibility. They also have good migration behavior and do not influence warpage in semicrystalline plastics, as well as being both temperature- and weather-resistant in films, thin-walled injection molded applications and blowmolded containers. Clariant/ Pigments & Additives Div. www.pa.clariant.com

Earth-conscious additives from Crompton

Already commercialized in Europe to meet no-lead PVC pipe standards, Crompton Corp. (Middlebury, CT) is marketing new, non-heavy-metal, organic-based stabilizers in the U.S and Latin America in advance of their global debut at K. Its Mark 2284A organotin stabilizer can be used for high-speed extrusion applications like window profiles, as its dual stabilizer/lubricant roles help increase throughput, eliminating chatter.

The Mark 9300 additive for vinyls is a low-phenol line for interior home products like flooring and wall paper. The additive eliminates 75% of the phenol plus VOCs, and although in the U.S. there is no current regulation of the chemical, laws at the local, state, and federal levels require phenol emissions to be reported for OSHA worker-safety standards, and it''s considered a priority pollutant by the EPA.

On the properties side, MARK 9300 helps eliminate the formation of a film caused by some plasticizers that is found on vinyl rolls stored in warehouses that are hot or humid and. Often set aside before being decorated, vinyl rolls that are covered by this film resist printing.

The company''s Mark 228 heat stabilizer targets window and door frames in hotter climates, reportedly giving 20% to 30% better weathering in lab tests—and real-world tests in Florida and Arizona.

Crompton will also highlight two new slip agents, one for use in films and the other in products like bottle caps. Kemamide VO is a vegetable-based slip agent for use in items like plastics bags, allowing users to open them more easily. Kemamide ELO targets botttle caps or similar applications in food contact, making it easier to open containers, and eliminating any plastic flavor from bottled water, etc. Crompton Corp., www.cromptoncorp.com

Great Lakes grades target electronics, electrical applications

Adding to its existing flame retardant portfolio, Great Lakes Chemicals is introducing two grades for use in electrical components such as connectors, relays, and switches. Firemaster BP411 is a brominated polystyrene flame retardant while grade CP44HR is a polybrominated styrene copolymer. Both products offer good thermal stability and blister resistance in thermoplastic polyester as well as in high temperature nylon applications. Also to be unveiled during the show is a halogen-free flame retardant for polyurethane foams. It is directed toward the automotive sector to help producers meet emission specifications. Great Lakes Chemical Corp., www.greatlakes.com

Acquistion broadens Reagens scope

Italian additives supplier Reagens SpA and its Asian partner Sun Ace Group (Singapore) have acquired the PVC stabilizer business of the Cognis Group. During the show, processors can find out how Reagens will integrate the new operation into its business. Sun Ace Group supplies PVC additives from seven plants in the Asia/Pacific region. Reagens officials say the acquisition gives Reagens much improved access to business opportunities in central and northern Europe. Cognis has two manufacturing sites in Lohne and Loxstedt, Germany. These will be renamed Reagens Deutschland GmbH. www.reagens.it

Masterbatches

Single-use cameras sport global design components

Consistency of color around the world is important to manufacturer Kodak for its Ultra Single-Use cameras, which are injection molded of high-impact polystyrene. Whether produced in England, Hungary, Russia, or the U.S., the company expects camera components to exhibit uniform color consistency. Kodak says it has made development of distinctive looks and designs a priority in this range. All pigments and additives have to be photo-inactive so that they won''t influence film quality.

Because Kodak recycles up to 90% of its single-use camera components, color consistency is a top priority, says Brett Blaisdell, plastics engineer, Kodak product development (Rochester, NY). To achieve the color masterbatch uniformity desired, Kodak and Clariant Masterbatches have formed a global partnership to meet production and delivery schedules. Clariant Master- batches, www.clariant.com

Gabriel Chemie specialty grade targets medical applications

The Maxithen polypropylene range was developed for injection molding of single-use hypodermic needle casings. Most of the series complies with ISO 6009, which specifies colors used in order to enable rapid visual identification of the outside diameter of the needles. The colors can be applied in an opaque or translucent fashion and be used in standard-, thin-, and extra-thin-walled applications.

Most applications tend to be transparent or translucent to guarantee that air bubbles inside serum are recognized and eliminated before injection. The range is said to require low dosage rates and is easy to process. Gabriel-Chemie, www.gabriel-chemie.com

Semifinished products

Sojitz—two is better than one in film production

Nichimen, producer of packaging films, has merged with Nissho Iwai, and will be presented under a new name, Sojitz, during this year''s K. The company is showing new developments in the gas and aroma barrier of its Biaxis biaxially oriented nylon film, in thicknesses from 10 to 25 µm. Also on display will be grades of Soarnol polyvinyl alcohol polymers used for gas barrier, oil resistance, and transparency. The material is modified by being copolymerized with ethylene to improve extrudability and moisture resistance. Sojitz Corp. www.sojitz.com

Measurement & inspection

Electronic color-matching system saves time

An electronic color-matching system, Colibri QuickMatch Pro, can help select correct effect shades for plastics and metallized surfaces without the use of a multiangle spectrophotometer. The system works with a complex mathematical model for either color matching effect shades or for improved accuracy with conventional hues. This is an expansion of the producer''s previous Colibri color-matching series, says Hermann Angerer, head of coating effects at Ciba Specialty Chemicals. QuickMatch Pro is available in multiuser versions for several users on a network to work either with their local database or with a central database on a server for easier data exchange between plants. Ciba Specialty Chemicals www.cibasc.com

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