Commodity Resins | 3 MINUTE READ

K2016 Reporter’s Notebook: Materials News



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Celanese to offer PEEK, TPE; SABIC eyes new Gulf Coast facility; Covestro displays automotive, electronics innovations; and Baerlocher launches heat stabilizer for recycled resins.


Celanese: Will Offer High-Flow PEEK; Expands Portfolio into TPE More With So.F.TER. Deal
Celanese Engineered Materials opened the show with big news beyond the fairground’s halls, announcing that by year's end it will have entered into the TPE business via the acquisition of Italy's So.F.TER. The company will also expand its engineering plastics portfolio with the latter's reinforced PP, nylons 6 and 66, PBT, PC/ABS, ABS, PC, PS, SAN and PPE compounds.




Beyond that, the company announced it will enter into the PEEK market, with a special high-flow product. This is new enough the company still has no brand name but still launched at the K. Celanese representatives said they plan to use their LCP expertise for complex PEEK geometric shapes targeting under hood automotive and electronics applications, among others.


In addition, Celanese is launching its first ever flexible Fortron PPS for applications like cable ties for materials handling, agriculture equipment and auto. These will compete with nylon cable ties, with Celanese stating PPS boasts better heat resistance.




The company is also now sampling brand new high-flow Celstran LFT grades. These are initially PP-based but other polymers can be used. Celanese believes these will be ideal for instrument and front end panels in automotive.


Covestro: Electric Concept Car Boasts Seamless PC Glazing/Lighting Integration
Among the various new technologies touted at K2016 by Covestro LLC was a the new electric concept car, featuring a wrap-around glazing made of transparent PC. Designed to give drivers better all-around visibility, the concept vehicle also featured an entirely new lighting concept. One key stressed by the material supplier was seamless integration of the PC body with the PC lighting structure. The rear of the vehicle also featured an eye-catching holographic lighting function. The extremely thin design with PC backlights and LED technology is said to be a “first”.




Covestro also touched on interesting 3D printing technology across several industries. Within athletics, the company discussed opportunities in footwear, with Covestro officials seeing that space as the most rapidly developing in terms of commercial additive manufacturing. At this time, Fused Filament Fabrication (FFD) is being applied with TPU and PC filaments.


The company also discussed a new steering wheel production process. Eliminating spray painting, the application is injection molded from PC or PC/ABS, and in one shot within the same mold a PUR coating is integrated.


In electronics, Covestro showcased a PC sheet impregnated with continuous carbon fiber as a next-generation laptop housing. Applicable for mass production, Covestro says the ultra-thin housings, which are rated UL94 V0 below 1 mm, feature good stiffness.




SABIC: Plans to Partner With ExxonMobil on Gulf Coast Plant; Automotive Innovations
SABIC officials confirm they are evaluating, in conjunction with an ExxonMobil affiliate, the building of a petrochemical and derivatives complex, including polyolefins, either in Texas or Louisiana.


By end of 2017, SABIC will produce glass-fiber-reinforced polyacetal which will be sold globally for applications in automotive, building/construction and more. Standing out at its stand is a New Scania truck, which features 30 different applications that utilize SABIC materials. These include:


  • A Cycoloy PC/ABS instrument panel
  • Stamax long-glass filled PP storage boxes, mounting panels and guiding rails
  • A Xenoy PC/PBT upper side step panel and mud guards




In addition, Sabic touted an industry-first use of plastic in body-in-white (BIW) reinforcement without adhesives or foams in the 2017 Jeep Renogade. This hybrid plastic-metal solution is directly welded to the rocker. Part of the floor rocker reinforcement is made of GTX 910 PPE/nylon 6.




Other eye-catching displays:


  • A 3D-printed airline seat made from Ultem PEI filament
  • A new Udmax fiber-reinforced thermoplastic tape portfolio (initially in PP but carbon fiber PC and glass nylon coming soon).


Baerlocher: Proprietary Heat Stabilizer for Recycled Materials
Baerlocher has developed a proprietary heat stabilizer technology called Baeropol RST for stabilization of recycled and recycled content materials. Sold under the product name Baeropol T-Blends, it is primarily aimed at polyolefins but is also said to look promising for PS, nylons and polyacetal.


In the metallic stearate family, the RST component of the new heat stabilizer blends can either totally eliminate phosphites or reduce their use due to RST's synergy. Unlike phosphites, Baerlocher says the RST technology has no solubility limitations and no plate out or gels in high speed extrusion. This allows greater use of RST, which also cost less than phosphites. Moreover, it promotes improved colorability, with better whiteness and less yellowing.