For a company that was mothballed by DSM, and then resurrected in 2006, Polyscope is doing well. Or rather more than well, says Director of Sales and Business Development Peter Tackx. "We started in 2006 with nothing, and we've built that into an operation that generates some 40 million euros in sales annually," he said. "What we do, the class of polymers we make, is actually quite unique," he added.
So what does Polyscope do? It's one of only a very few in the world to produce specialized styrene maleic anhydride functionalized copolymers and terpolymers, that serve as compatibilizers in styrenic systems and high-heat promoters for styrenic compounds. "Our products are copolymers, which means that the maleic acid is actually in the polymer, not grafted onto it," explained Tackx. "This means that our products offer a much higher concentration of MA. Systems in which the maleic acid is grafted onto a matrix are used for compatibilizing polyolefins. Our system is suitable for styrenics."
Polyscope has developed a product line called Xeran that is suitable for compatibilizing numerous compounds. The presence of maleic anhydride monomers in the chain makes these products reactive towards polyamides, polyesters and polycarbonates. Hence, the Xeran grades can be used to compatibilize compounds of polycarbonate (PC) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) or acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA), compounds of polyamide (PA) and ABS and compounds of polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and ABS or ASA. Polyscope even offers a Xeran coupling agent to enhance performance of styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) with glass fibers.
The company has also developed a line of high heat performance promoters for styrenic compounds under the brand name Xiran. These new grades of plastic modifiers are terpolymers, which are composed of various proportions of styrene, maleic anhydride and N-phenylmaleimide. "Basically, these products increase the heat performance of the engineering compounds at a lower additive level," said Tackx. "We developed them in response to market demand for stryrenic engineering compounds with high temperature resistance and low volatile residuals."
Apparently, the company succeeded in meeting those demands: Polyscope was awarded the Frost & Sullivan 2013 New Product Innovation Leadership Award for its Xiran IZ products, as "the parts made from these new grades not only exhibit optimum toughness, improved HDT performance, high dimensional stability and improved paintability, but also excel in reducing weight, enhancing fuel efficiency, increasing durability and overall thermal performance."
Next to these modifiers, Polyscope today also produces a Xiran SG compound that it is specifically marketing to the automotive industry for use in sunroof frames. Tackx: "It's a perfect material for this application. It offers high dimensional stability, low warpage and, because of the MA, excellent adhesion, with no surface treatment required. Composed of styrene maleic acid, ABS and 15-30% glass, it can provide up to 15% weight savings compared to competitive plastics such as PBT, PA, PP, or thermoset SMC, all of which are commonly used in sun roof frames."
"It is also easy to recycle, which automotive OEMs today consider an important advantage," he added. It's a first step towards the diversification into other technical compounds, as Polyscope continues to look for ways to broaden its presence on the market. "New developments are underway," said Tackx.
Polyscope is headquartered in Geleen, the Netherlands, in the Chemelot Industrial Park.