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Aachen Center, Shuler Form Alliance To Develop Lightweight Automotive, Aerospace Components

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 7. July 2014

Germany’s Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will begin manufacturing composite components on a new composite press from Shuler by year’s end.

 

A collaboration in the field of lightweight production is underway between Germany’s Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) and metal and plastic forming equipment supplier Schuler. A new upstroke composite press with a force of 1800 m.t.  from Shuler will serve as a joint R&D development platform for the large-scale testing of new dies, lines, components or automation technologies. The tests will be conducted under production conditions and ensure that equipment is ready for start-up.

 

“We are very much looking forward to a long-term cooperation with Schuler…As a premium partner, Shuler will be able to use our holistic expertise and complete portfolio of services, as well as our international partner network which are constantly expanding,” says AZL’s CEI Dr. Michael Emonts.

 

Shuler’s CTO Joachim Beyer says this collaboration will help the company enhance its press technology and production processes for modern lightweight materials, noting that AZL’ significant expertise in production technology and materials science will take the company a major step forward.  For the further development of its press equipment, Schuler is focusing in particular on the areas of high-speed RTM, wet pressing and the processing of thermoplastics Academic and practical feedback from the AZL network is expected to help Shuler optimize its customer solutions.

For the mass production of lightweight components, such as in automotive and aerospace sectors, the main focus is on increasing productivity: cycle times of 2-3 min for the RTM process , or even less than 1 min for thermoplastic processing, help meet the requirements of OEMs—especially with regard to reducing CO2 emissions and improving their ecological footprint.

 

 

Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastic Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.

 

Celanese In Strategic Supply Deal For Deepwater Thermoplastic Composite Pipes

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 2. July 2014

Celanese Corp. has devised an interesting multi-year strategic supply agreement with Airborne Oil & Gas B.V., the global leading supplier of spoolable thermoplastic composite pipe systems for deepwater offshore operations, for the development and supply of thermoplastic composite materials for these pipe systems.

 

Global composites business manager Michael Ruby says, “Our multi-year supply agreement demonstrates the Celanese commitment to meeting the needs of the oil and gas sector and supporting it future needs. It will ensure a supply of numerous, fully-qualified engineered materials that can meet the demand for oil and gas pipes.”

 

The company already plays an important role in helping to ensure efficient offshore operations via engineered materials used in thermoplastic composite pipe. A good example is the flexible pipeline system for Airborne that incorporates Celstran CFR-TP (continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite) technologies, which is suitable for use in flowlines, downlines, jumpers, intervention lines, risers and other offshore pipe systems.

 

The durable, spoolable, lightweight composite pipe systems designed and manufactured by Airborne, have high mechanical strength to withstand the extremely high pressures and tensile loads of deep-sea offshore operations, and combine and excellent chemical stability with very good resistance to fatigue, aging and permeation. The absence of corrosion reduces maintenance costs, and the smooth inner bore improves the pressure performance. These pipes are made in a fully-automated manufacturing process and can be made up to several kilometers of length in one product.

 

Celstran CFR-TP offers the widest range of matrix materials available in the composites industry, and numerous reinforcing fiber options. These composites can be tailored to meet specific dimensional and application requirements for robust, lightweight and corrosion-resistant parts that require: superior performance vs. metal and metal alloys; significant reduction in lifecycle costs compared to metal; outstanding mechanical properties—low weight with high rigidity and toughness; high impact and notched impact strength; very low creep and warpage; resistance to interlaminar crack propagation; and very good resistance to high temperatures.

 

Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastic Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.

 

 

New Study Finds Plastic Bag Bans Have Had Reverse Effects

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 25. June 2014

A new study from the Reason Foundation--a public policy think tank that promotes choice, competition, and a dynamic market economy, assessed the environmental and economic effects of grocery bag bans. The findings may be surprising to the bans’ proponents who claim benefits such as a reduction in litter and other environmental impacts, ranging from resource use to emission of greenhouse gases, to a reduction of municipal costs for litter removal and waste collection. 

 

Using the best data available, “How Green Is That Grocery Bag Ban”, investigated the claims of proponents of such ordinances, which have been passed in about 190 municipalities in the U.S. within the last 15 years, imposing bans, fees and/or taxes on plastic grocery (HDPE) bags.  The findings include:

 

• Such bans have had nearly no impact on the amount of litter generated. In fact, plastic bag litter constitutes only 0.6% of visible litter across the U.S. So, even banning all plastic bags would have little impact on overall litter. Moreover, it accounts for less than 1% of visible litter items in storm drains, so it does not pose a flood threat.

 

• Plastic bags have had no discernible impact on the amount of plastic in the ocean or on the number of marine animals harmed by debris.

 

• There is no evidence of a reduction in waste collections costs.

 

• Some alternative bags appear to be superior to lightweight plastic on some environmental measures, such as use of energy and emissions of greenhouse gases. But that is true only if those bags are reused a sufficient number of times—ranging from six to 30 or more, depending on the bag. In practice, households do not typically reuse their bags enough to achieve those gains. At actual reuse rates, plastic bags result in about half the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of alternative bags.

 

• There is likely an adverse health effect from people failing to wash bacteria-ridden reusable bags, the use of which may increase as a result of restrictions on the distribution of other bag types.

 

• The cost of plastic bag bans fall disproportionally on the poor.

 

Biocompatible, Zinc-Based Antibacterial Treatment For Plastics

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 19. June 2014

A unique patented antimicrobial treatment has been developed by Parx Plastics, a two-year-old business founded by Michele Fiori and Michael van der Jagt to explore the possibilities of creating antibacterial plastics. Headquartered in The Netherlands, with laboratory and production facilities in Italy, Parx Plastics was named by the European Commission as one of top three tech startups in Europe in the prestigious Tech AllStars competition 2014.

 

By applying biomimetics and nanotechnology, a method was developed to make an intrinsic change to any plastic that results in a mechanical/physical property that acts against bacteria or microorganisms, according to van der Jagt. The technology does not use chemicals, biocides, heavy metals or nanoparticles. Instead, it makes use of the one of the body’s most abundant trace elements: zinc. Moreover, it is said to kill 99% of the bacteria and microorganisms that are on the surface of a product within 24 hours, in step with ISO 22196 testing guidelines.  Says van der Jagt, “The technology can be used nearly for any end-use product, but its unique characteristics—biocompatible, non-toxic, non-migratory, makes it especially suitable for food packaging to prolong shelf life and medical devices where it reduces the chances of infection with implants.”

 

To date, the treatment has been applied to BPA-free copolyester Tritan EX401 from Eastman Chemical where its successful incorporation of the antibacterial property resulted in 98.7% for Gram- and 98% for Gram+ bacteria. The material is targeted at infant care products and the Parx technology opens up broader opportunities. “So, if you need to make an antibacterial product that is normally made out of Eastman’s Tritan, we will treat 3% of the Tritan granulate/pellets of the Tritan you require. That 3%-treated plastic is referred to as Saniconcentrate, which is mixed in with the untreated 97% portion prior to production. We are now in direct contact with the molder of one of these products,”says van der Jagt.  He also notes that the company has had equally successful results in applying its treatment to BASF’s Terluran GP-35 ABS copolymer, a standard ABS grade with a low viscosity used in a very wide range of applications.

 

 

Shrimp Shells Play Key Role In New Bioplastic

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 19. June 2014

Researchers from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute have developed a fully-degradable bioplastic isolated from shrimp shells which they report can be molded into products such as cell phones, food containers and toys which boast many of the key properties as those made by their traditional plastic counterparts.

 

Director of platform development Bob Cunningham sees potential application for the new bioplastic for large-scale manufacturing of consumer products. The group is actively in the process of seeking potential partners, ranging from raw material suppliers and compounders to molders and end-users. Initially, the ideal partner would appear to be a compounder or resin supplier with bioplastics experience.

 

The new bioplastic is partly made of chitosan, a form of chitin, said to be Earth’s second most abundant organic material. A tough polysaccharide, chitin is responsible for the hardy shells of shrimp and other crustaceans, armor-like insect cuticles, and flexible butterfly wings. Led by postdoctoral fellow Javier Fernandez, and founding director Don Ingber, the Wyss team developed a new way to process the material so that it can be fabricated into large 3D objects and complex shapes using traditional casting or injection molding techniques. In addition, the chitosan bioplastic breaks down when returned to the environment within about two weeks, and it releases rich nutrients that support plant growth.

 

Depending on the chitosan fabrication method used, you either get a chitosan material that is brittle and opaque—thus, unusable, or tough and transparent, according to Fernandez. After fully characterizing in detail how factors like temperature and concentration affect the mechanical properties of chitosan on a molecular level, the two researchers honed-in on a method that produced a pliable liquid crystal material that was just right for use in large-scale injection molding or casting manufacturing.

 

Also significant is that they came up with a way to combat the problem of shrinkage whereby the chitosan polymer fails to maintain its original shape after injection molding. Adding wood flour did the trick! “You can make virtually mold any 3D form with impressive precision from this type of chitosan”, says Fernandez, who first molded a series of chess pieces as a demonstration. This bioplastic can also be modified for use in water and also can be easily dyed by changing the acidity of the chitosan solution. And the dyes can be collected again and reused when the material is recycled. 

 

 

Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastic Technology’s “Plaspec Global materials database”.




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