Conference Presents Materials & Applications for Thermoplastic Composites in Automotive

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 15. May 2014

Thermoplastic composites represent a new class of structural parts for automotive and a new opportunity for injection and compression molders. Machinery systems are still evolving, but the latest advances in automation, speed, energy efficiency, and materials efficiency will be presented at the first-ever Thermoplastic Composites Conference for Automotive next month in Novi, Mich.


Organized by the editors of Plastics Technology and sister publications Composites Technology, High-Performance Composites, and Automotive Design and Production, this event will present 17 speakers in a day and a half of technical presentations, co-located with the amerimold 2014 expo, also sponsored by Gardner Business Media, parent of Plastics Technology. The conference will comprise four sessions on Materials and Applications, Machinery Systems, Processes, and Long-Fiber Thermoplastic Composites. Here’s a brief  look at the chock-full Session I on Materials and Applications.


Two pioneers of continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastics (CFRT) will address their latest developments, while another will present a case study on replacing steel. There are also presentations on lower-melt viscosity resins, novel liquid acrylics and, proprietary thermoplastic composite prepregs and customized equipment for the manufacture of composite parts.


“TEPEX—Composite Technology for Mass Production in Automotive: Material Applications and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) Tools” by Marcus Schaefer, technical director head of product and application development, NAFTA, Lanxess Corp., will discuss the latest commercial developments with this CFRT technology.


“Development of Low Melt Viscosities for Improved Fiber Impregrnation, Part Performance and Short Cycle Time Processes” by Hans Miltner, program manager, advanced materials, Solvay Advanced Innovation Office, will address the performance of new low-melt viscosity thermoplastics that enhance fiber impregnation and speed-up cycle times.


“Continuous Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics: Materials, Production Methods and Converting Designs into Lightweight Components” by Tom Smith, president of TecCate Performance Materials, will offer insight on inroads made with and further potential of the company’s CFRT technology.


“Automotive Lightweighting Case Study: Replacing Steel with Thermoplastic Composites in an Automotive Seat Backframe” by Mark Minnichelli, director of technical development, BASF Performance Materials, will address the development of seat backframes produced with hybrid nylon CFRT technology.


“ELIUM Liquid Thermoplastic Resin and RTM to Make Recyclable Automotive Structural Parts” by scientist Dana Swan, Arkema Inc., will discuss novel, reactive liquid acrylics for in-situ polymerization that can be used to make thermoplastic composite parts that are 30-50% lighter in weight than their steel counterparts.


“How to Get from Injection Molding to Thermoplastic Composites: Performance, Productivity, Perfection” by Jerome Le Corvec, CEO of Aonix Advanced Materials, will present inroads made with the use of proprietary thermoplastic prepregs and customized equipment that allow for high-volume, low-cost, automated manufacturing of composite parts.


Stay tuned for previews of Sessions II, III, and IV next week. For details on the conference, visit here. For details on the amerimold show and conference, visit here.


Nylons 6 & 6/6 With Up To 100% Biomass For Flexible Packaging

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 14. May 2014


BASF has used an innovative technology that replaces up to 100% of the fossil resources used at the beginning of the integrated production process of its Ultramid B nylon 6 and Ultramid C nylon 6/6 with certified biomass. 


The share of renewable raw materials in the sales product is then indicated in the respective quantity. A third-party certification confirms to customers that BASF has used the required quantities of renewable raw materials which the customer has ordered in the value chain, according to Joachim Queisser, senior v.p. of polyamides and precursors Europe regional business unit. “Consumer demand for products made of renewable raw materials continues to rise. This offering opens excellent possibilities for packaging film manufacturers to market their products accordingly.”


The resulting Ultramid, which is produced according to the so-called mass-balance approach, is reportedly identical in terms of formulation and quality but associated with lower green-house-gas emissions and saving of fossil resources. Also, existing plants and technologies along the value chain can continue to be used without changes.


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



PVC Water Pipe Again Proves Its Merits In New Study

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 14. May 2014

How does PVC pipe rate in water networks? A new comprehensive study on PVC pipe excavations, testing and lifecycle analysis from the Utah State University (USU) Buried Structures Laboratory gives it very high marks. USU is also home to the Utah Water Research Laboratory and has significantly contributed to water and wastewater research internationally for over 50 years.


This study reviews past dig-up reports and presents new quality control testing results that continue to validate the performance and longevity of PVC pipe used in water networks. The combination of pipe examination and testing data in conjunction with previous pipe-break studies support PVC as a sustainable pipe material and confirm its longevity in excess of 100 years.  Says report author Dr. Steven Folkman, “Understanding the longevity of pipes improves the ability of a water utility to make better infrastructure investment decisions with improved affordability results for customers.”


PVC pipe was shown to have the lowest rate of water-main breaks of all pipe materials examined—including ductile iron, cast iron, steel, concrete, and asbestos cement—in a previous USU study on water- main breaks in the U.S. and Canada.  The new study continues to explore PVC reliability and longevity and also examines the critical issue of affordability—an issue that could not be better timed as the U.S. water sector faces the difficult task of renewing its buried infrastructure.  “This study provides the next body of evidence supporting the ability of utilities to address the failing infrastructure and the affordability dilemma,” says Folkman. He cites the U.S. Conference of Mayors which has determined that a total of $2.28 trillion is needed in water and wastewater piping over the next 20 years.


A major finding of this study is that U.S. water utilities can reduce water-main breaks and operations and maintenance costs by including corrosion-proof PVC piping in their replacement programs. USU’s earlier research has shown that corrosion of iron piping is a major problem for water systems and newer metallic pipes are experiencing failures more rapidly than older types because of their thinner walls.

Also highlighted in this report is that PVC pipes offer a high degree of resilience in freezing conditions, which is hoped will help reduce the ever-increasing number of iron pipes that fail annually fail during winter across the country.  ‘Many utilities have fallen short in producing appropriate cost and life-cycle comparisons of pipe performance. Data on water pipe longevity must be combined with asset management techniques to make water and sewer infrastructure more durable and affordable. As well, elected officials, financial managers, and utility professionals must work together to create a new management paradigm for water and wastewater systems,” argues Folkman.


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

Bright,Platy Talc Soon Available from North American Source

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 7. May 2014

Very lamellar, high-brightness platy talc will soon be available in commercial quantities from a North American source for PP compounds used in automotive, appliance, and packaging markets.  Imerys Talc North America, San Jose, California, is near completion of a development project at its production facilities in Timmins, Ontario, Canada.


This investment will complete a multifaceted expansion project which will increase the plant’s production capacity with a proprietary mining beneficiation technology. This enables Imerys to supply these market sectors with a minimum 92 brightness, lamellar, micronized talc from a North American source for the first time in the industry’s history.  There are no active North American sources of bright, platy talc ore, so the industry has been relying heavily on imported ores, historically from China and now dominantly from Pakistan. Imerys’ Penhorwood, Ontario, ore body has sufficient reserves to supply the industry for over 20 years.


Says v.p. and general manager Brian Hanrahan, “This will allow us to serve the North American compounding industry with local talc products from a stable, controlled, predictable and sustainable mine. In addition to the high brightness, these talcs also impart improved mechanical properties to plastics versus competitive talc grades.”

The first products of the new range of talcs, called JetWhite, are scheduled for commercialization by the end of July. Samples are available now. The new JetWhite series rounds out Imerys’ line of highly lamellar JetFil products.

Unique Catalyst Promises 'Better' PET for Preform Extruders and Bottle Makers

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 29. April 2014

A novel catalyst touted as the first to have both sufficient selectivity and activity in both polycondensation and solid-state polymerization can produce PET with the desired physical properties and thermo-oxidative stability for bulk industrial-scale PET manufacture and subsequent processing.


The patent-pending catalyst from U.K.’s Catalytic Technologies Ltd.,  enables PET producers to manufacture high-stability, high-intrinsic viscosity (>0.70 dL/g) PET, unlike any other condensation catalyst currently available, including the industry standard antimony catalyst. The catalyst is a ‘titanium (Ti) only’ system, requires no co-catalyst and contains no heavy metals.


The company has proven the brand new technology during a catalyst trial on Uhde Inventa-Fischer’s state-of-the-art 2R-MTR continuous pilot plant in Berlin, Germany. The trial compared the new CTL Ti638 UP catalyst to an antimony (Sb) reference with outstanding results. Matching the reaction rate of 250 ppm Sb with just 10 ppm of Ti, the trial demonstrated that not only could process parameters remain unchanged, but the high-intrinsic viscosity resin produced had unrivalled thermo-oxidative stability and excellent physical and optical properties.


Moreover, the trial resin was also converted into preforms and bottles which further demonstrated the unique thermo-oxidative stability during resin melt processing, and the intrinsic advantages of using the new CTL Ti catalyst technology. In addition to the several advantages for PET producers, here are the key features highlighted for preform extruders and bottle/container manufacturers and fillers:


For preform extruders:

• Lower crystallinity chip requires 40% lower energy for melt processing

• Lower crystallinity resin reduces injection cycle times

• Reduced polymer degradation reduces IV loss, acetaldehyde and carboxylic end-group generation due to Ti-PET thermo-oxidative stability and more facile melt processing conditions

• A 55% lower acetaldehyde level minimizes storage time before bottle blowing

• Brighter (by up to 4 L*) and clearer preforms

• Heavy-metal-free preforms


For bottle/container manufacturers and fillers:

• 10% energy increase required for bottle blowing due to reduced metal particulate content on equal preform weight-for-weight basis and in the absence of reheat additives.

• A 60% lower residual acetaldehyde and 15% lower carboxylic end-group content

• Improved bottle clarity and brightness (up to 4L*)

• Higher stretch induced crystallinity bottle side walls enables bottle lightweighting, bottles that are more resistant to shrinkage along with improved barrier properties

• Lower metal residue minimizes thermal crystallization allowing for increased hot-fill temperatures without causing container shoulder to turn opaque

• Wider thermal operating window for bottle blowing due to lower Tg (glass transition temperature) and higher Tc (thermal crystallization) onset allowing for improved definition of intricate bottle designs

• Heavy-metal-free bottles

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