RadiciGroup “Snags” Stadium Seats at Rio 2016 Olympics

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 30. March 2016

Radiflam nylon 6 once again to play role in Brazil’s stadium seating.


Italy’s RadiciGroup (U.S. office in Wadsworth, Ohio) was for the second time chosen as a key materials supplier for stadium seating for a prestigious sports event taking place in Brazil—this time for the Rio 2016 Olympic games, August 5-21.


The company supplied its halogen-free flame retardant, 30% glass-reinforced nylon 6 Radiflam S RV300UKHF 3010 BK, for the seats of eight of the major Brazilian stadiums that hosted the 2014 Football World Championships. This year, the company’s material was reconfirmed by Brazil for the seating at five of the venues of the upcoming Olympic games. The Radiflam S specialty resins are being used to manufacture the stadium seats and many of their components and accessories such as armrests, bolts and supports.


The specialty Radiflam S grade reportedly ensures that the final plastic parts feature maximum performance in terms of mechanical resistance, flame-retardancy, aesthetic appearance, and resistance to prolonged exposure to UV radiation and aggressive weathering. All this, while complying with the Olympic Committees’ stringent regulations on the safety of the sports facilities and the construction sector’s specific technical regulations, according to Jane Campos, CEO of Radici Plastics Ltda.—the company’s nearly 20-year-old Brazilian production site for its engineering resins, including nylon, PBT, TPE and polyacetal.


“We were the first in Brazil to supply nylon engineering plastics approved for use in the manufacture of stadium seat parts. The fact that Radiflam is going to be at the Rio games makes us really proud. During our almost twenty years of activity on the Brazilian market, we have always strived to provide our customers with technological innovation, quality, safety and the highest degree of customization. This is the kind of work we continue to do, thanks to our R&D facilities and our on-site technical support for customer development projects created here in South America, as well as the contribution of our knowledge acquired in Europe and North America.”


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SMC Compounder & Compression Molder Establishes New Non-Woven Business

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 28. March 2016

R3 Composites’ new subsidiary to supply industry with high-quality and innovative non-wovens technology.


Carver Non-Woven Technologies LLC is the new wholly-owned and very interesting subsidiary of R3 Composites, Inc., Grabill, Ind., a custom compression molder and compounder of sheet-molding compound (SMC). To be headquartered in nearby Fremont, Ind., where significant renovations to an existing plant are nearly complete, Carver Non-Woven Technologies will supply high-quality, multi-material non-woven products to both R3 and the broader North American composites industry. Commercial sale of these products is slated to start this July.


Carver will target thermoset and thermoplastic composite applications in automotive, recreational vehicles, office furniture, and building construction markets. Unlike other non-woven suppliers, Carver has fully automated its entire production line—from initial debaling, fiber opening, blending, and carding, all the way through to finished packaging


Moreover, Carver will offer a broad combination of single-fiber and hybrid (multi-fiber) mats including E-glass fiberglass, bast-type natural fibers (primarily jute), carbon fiber, and several types of polymer fibers (e.g., nylon and polyester) plus highly homogeneous resonated acrylic/latex binder-resin blends. The company also reportedly aims to be first to bring carbon fiber non-wovens to market at lower costs than conventional wrap-and-resonate processes.


Carver plans to offer these cutting-edge non-woven reinforcements for a broad range of thermoset and thermoplastics composites due to its ability to create sheetstock with low-variance weight (density) with superior dimensional stability and mechanical properties.


With a focus on being able to meet the demanding performance requirements of the targeted markets, Mark Glidden, president of R3 Composites and Carver Non-Woven, noted, “From the start, we strategically positioned Carver’s focus on design and technology in order to significantly raise the bar on non-woven product quality…We knew it would be critical to maintain tight tolerances on fiber blending, coarse and fine fiber opening, product weight distribution, and line versatility. These are the key metrics that we kept in mind when custom designing our processes and equipment… All told, we’ve made a very significant investment in the new company, but this assures complete control, consistency, and quality in our finished goods. With everything that Carver makes, product quality is our first and foremost goal.”


Understanding that quality also meant integration with the whole non-wovens supply chain. The Carver team addressed this key aspect of their quality program with hands-on involvement in fiber quality and specifications prior to purchases—especially in the area of natural fibers. The company has carefully partnered with suppliers in Southeast Asia to bring together the first comprehensive supply-chain management program for bast fiber non-wovens, including full quality testing of products prior to shipment to the Freemont plant. Starting at farms and distribution points throughout India and Bangladesh, the University of Calcutta is providing inspection and lot testing. Since jute fibers have a single harvest per year and since shipping to the U.S. Midwest takes 6-8 weeks, supply-chain management is really important to assure higher quality, longer fibers with good and consistent strength values are received.


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R3 Composites

Thermally-Conductive Thermoplastics to Grow Substantially

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 23. March 2016


Dublin-based Research and Markets (U.S. office in NYC) has released its new study, “Thermally Conductive Plastics Market – Global Trends and Forecast to 2020”, which signals significant growth within the next five years. The overall market size for thermally conductive plastics is estimated to grow from $388.5 million in 2015 to $757.4 million by 2020, at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 14.3%.


The market growth for thermally conductive plastics is driven by the cost-effective and lightweight alternative they present to challenge  materials such as ceramics and metals. Other major drivers include ease-of-handling, customization, moldability, higher scratch resistance, thermal stability, impact strength, and resistance to abrasion. The report includes analysis of the market by raw material, such as PPS, PBT, nylon, PC, PEI, and PSU; by end-use industry, such as electrical & electronics (E&E), automotive, industrial, healthcare, and aerospace; and by region, namely, North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and RoW. Some key elements identified include:


• The E&E market is the largest end-use industry in terms of volume, followed by automotive, industrial, and healthcare. 


• Among all the end-use industries, healthcare is estimated to register the highest CAGR between 2015 and 2020.


• In 2015, North America accounted for the largest market share, in terms of volume, and is estimated to remain the market leader within the next five years.


• The U.S. led the demand for thermally-conductive plastics due to increased demand for LED lighting in the last two-to-three years.


The researchers used both top-down and bottom-up approaches to estimate and validate the size of the global market and to estimate the size of the various other dependent submarkets in the overall thermally conductive plastics market. Moreover, this study involved the use of extensive secondary sources, directories, and databases such as Hoovers, Bloomberg, Chemical Week, Factiva, The Plastics Industry Trade Associations (PITA), Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), The British Plastics Federation (BPF) European Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organizations (EPRO), National Insulation Association (NIA), International Plastics Association (IPA), and other government and private websites.


Extensive primary interviews were conducted with the following break-down:


• By Company Type: Tier 1, 37% -- Tier 2, 50% -- Others, 13%


• By Designation: C level, 50% -- Director level, 31% -- Others,



• By Region: North America, 38% -- Europe, 36% -- Asia-Pacific,

  25% -- RoW, 6%

The key companies profiled in this report are: BASF, Covestro, Saint Gobain, Toray Industries, DSM, HELLA KGaA Hueck & Co., RTP Co., Celanese, PolyOne, Kaneka, and Mitsubishi Engineering-Plastics.


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First High-Barrier PLA-Based Flexible Film for Long Shelf-Life Pouches

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 23. March 2016

Italian film processor combines coating technology with NatureWorks Ingeo films for packaging of processed foods.


Used successfully for several years in fresh food packaging, Ingeo PLA from NatureWorks, Minetonka, Minn., has now been used in the first application for use in shelf-stable food packaging, with the focus on the long shelf-life pouch market.


Italy’s Metalvuoto, an over 45-yr old processor of metalized plastic films for food packaging and for the consumer electronics market, combined its Oxaqua, high-barrier PET film coating technology with Ingeo PLA to produce dual-function films that enable simplified flexible packaging structures—such as flat, stand-up, or squared-bottomed pouches.


Branded Ingeo Propylester, the new Metalvuoto film allows using a two-layer pouch with performance matching that of three-layer pouches. Says the company’s executive director Gianni Costanzo, “Until now, the flexible packaging industry has grown up around the use of multi-material laminates because no one material was able to provide multiple functionality. For example, brand owners often use an aluminum layer for barrier, a PET layer for external aesthetics, and an internal PE layer for heat-sealability. Now, we have used our Oxaqua coating technology with an Ingeo base film to replace two layers of different materials with one layer that simultaneously provides excellent barrier and heat sealability.”


Ingeo Propylester film has significantly better oxygen barrier than metalized BOPP, according to Metalvuoto.  (Barrier performance is compared in the figure shown here against a range of materials normally considered for use in flexible packaging markets.)

Moreover, because the new films provides good seal strength, it eliminates the need for an additional sealant layer and enables a structural package simplification.


According to Constanzo, the company expects strong interest from the market in two-layer structures in which the Ingeo and Oxaqua biocoating technology are combined with paper to provide a fully biobased performance package at a cost that is competitive with three-layer structures.


The new film is well suited for food packaging in both horizontal and vertical form-fill-seal applications, and has demonstrated good processability. In testing on pouch-making machines, 30 to 40 units per minute were produced, depending on the type of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper pouch—flat, stand-up, or square-bottomed.


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BASF and Avantium JV Aims at “Green” PEF Barrier Resin

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 22. March 2016

The new joint venture will further development and licensing of Avantium production processes of precursor FDCA and PEF.


The goal to produce a 100% biobased alternative to PET has been in the works by The Netherlands’ Avantium since late 2010. That was when the company commenced its pilot project for the production of furanics—a class of chemical building blocks used to produce innovative “green” fuels, chemicals, and renewable materials. The company’s furanics are branded as YXY, and by end of 2011, Avantium had started up a furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) monomer pilot unit as well as a small YXY polyethylene furanoate (PEF) pilot plant (read more here).


Since then, Avantium has been pushing for commercial-scale production of PEF through approaches such as licensing and partnering arrangements with Coca-Cola and Alpla, in the belief that once commercial scale is achieved, PEF would compare quite favorably with reigning bottle king PET. PEF reportedly has oxygen barrier that is 10 times that of PET, along with double the water vapor and four times the CO2 barrier.


Its glass-transition temperature of 190.4 F is 53.6 F higher than PET, with a tensile modulus that is 1.6 times greater. The thinking is that even though PEF has about a 5% higher density than PET, it could make lighter bottles by thin-walling and/or eliminating barrier layers.


Enter BASF, which last week announced that it is forming a joint venture with Avantium for the production and marketing of the “green FDCA building block, as well as marketing of PEF.” The new venture will use Avantium’s YXY process for the production of FDCA. The partners intend to further develop the process and to construct a reference plant for the production of FDCA with annual capacity of about 110-million lb/yr at BASF’s Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium.


The ultimate aim is to build up world-leading positions in FDCA and PEF, and subsequently license the technology for industrial-scale application. Because of its excellent barrier properties, high mechanical strength, and recyclability, PEF is viewed as highly suitable for the production of certain food and beverage packaging, including films and bottles. “Partnering with the number one chemical company in the world, provide use with access to the capabilities that are required to bring this technology to industrialization, said Tom van Aken, Avantium’s CEO. 

Avantium PEF bioplastic

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