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Specialty compounds, expanded tech center

Article-Specialty compounds, expanded tech center

Collaboration between Bernhardt Design, Mack Molding, and GE Advanced Materials?Plastics helped produce the Orbit stacking chair in 20% glass-filled PC/ABS. Mack molds the chair, traditionally rendered in ash or zebrawood, using LNP Verton PCA-F-7004-M in a gas-assist process, and paints the seat to achieve a high-gloss finish for a lower systems cost and higher design flexibility than wood.
GE Advanced Materials?Plastics introduced two new grades of glass-reinforced LNP Verton PBT, long-fiber compounds that can replace short-fiber, glass-filled PBT, PP, and PA. Targeted applications include electrical connectors and switches, as well as metal-replacement applications such as garage door handles.

After acquiring compounder LNP Engineering Plastics two years ago, GE Advanced Materials?Plastics promised it would make a significant investment in compounding technology. At a recent press conference in Exton, PA, Charlie Crew, president and CEO, LNP Products, GE Advanced Materials?Plastics, confirmed that those investments, totaling $2.9 million, have all come to reality.

An expansion at the Technology Innovation Center in Exton, from 6000 to nearly 12,000 sq ft, enables GE to mold, extrude, and test new compounds at a single site using an iterative process for faster product introduction. The company has also introduced several new compounds aimed at metal replacement, shielding, static dissipation, halogen- and red-phosphorous-free FR, antistatic, and wear-resistant applications.

?Compounding is integral to GE,? says Crew, ?and it is a capability that we intend to amplify because it offers our customers the solutions they need to differentiate. Today, technology is the true added value.?

While the LNP business name has been dropped in favor of GE Advanced Materials?Plastics, the products themselves will continue to carry the LNP brand name. Specialty compounds introduced over the past several months in North America include:

LNP Verton PCA-F-7004: long-glass-fiber PC/ABS offers strength similar to short-glass-fiber materials at lower loadings.

LNP Verton WF-7006 and LNP Verton WF-700-10: long-glass-fiber PBT with enhanced performance vs. short-fiber resins in metal-replacement applications.

LNP Faradex DS-1003 FR HI: stainless-steel-filled compound offers EMI shielding and electrostatic dissipative (ESD) properties in a custom-colorable, halogen-free, flame-retardant package.

LNP Starflam: Six new grades that meet the requirements of halogen- and red-phosphorus-free parts comply with current European directives on Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (ROHS) in electrical and electronic equipment.

LNP Stat-Loy PCA FR 94 V-0: based on a PC/ABS resin blend; offers permanent antistatic ESD performance, UL 94 V-0 FR at 1.5 mm, and high impact strength.

Gear package: Select grades of LNP Lubricomp, Lubriloy, and Fulton self-lubricating compounds create a specialized gear package of materials with an Internet-based teaching module and a full range of design specs.

Crew also explains that LNP products are capitalizing on new polymer technology extracted from GE, enabling a broader portfolio range, as well as manufacturing expertise. ?Capacity has been or is being added at several GE sites around the world, including production of LNP products at our Nansha, China facility by next year. Small lot color is also now part of the LNP umbrella at GE?s Canadian and Italian sites.?

The expanded technical innovation center in Exton is a counterpoint to commoditization, according to Crew. ?It?s a reality that cost drivers are forcing some products into a commodity category,? he says. ?However, with LNP products, we are participating in innovation and customer growth in new applications, continuing to drive technical development.? Some of the future application categories include automotive body panels and frames for mobile phone LCDs, both in long-glass-fiber compounds.?MM

GE Advanced Materials?Plastics
Exton, PA; (800) 854-8774

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