Product Update

Excerpt: Here are the Product updates in the Plastics and Packaging Industry across the world

DSM Expands EV Thermal Management Portfolio with New PPS Grade

DSM Engineering Plastics has introduced a new PPS (polyphenylene sulphide) grade to optimize the performance of electric vehicle thermal management systems. Xytron™ G4080HR is a 40 percent glass-reinforced PPS engineered for heat aging performance, hydrolysis resistance, dimensional stability, chemical resistance at elevated temperatures and intrinsic flame retardancy.

“As our customers work to enhance the performance of electric vehicles through lightweighting, it is essential for us to design lightweight materials able to withstand the increased heat and prolonged chemical exposure requirements of EV thermal management systems,” said Lu Zhang, global business line director, DSM Engineering Plastics.

Since Xytron G4080HR is specifically formulated for typical EV thermal management system lifecycles, it maintains its strength at continuous operating temperatures exceeding 130◦C for 6,000 to 10,000 hours. In a recent 3,000 hour 135◦C water-glycol fluid test versus a comparable competitor grade, Xytron G4080HR delivered 114 percent higher tensile strength and 63 percent higher elongation at break. The unique combination of resistance to heat, moisture and chemicals make the Xytron family of materials a preferred solution for applications in many industries, including:

  • Automotive: powertrain parts, turbo systems, thermal management, automotive electronics and lighting
  • Electrical and Electronics: connectors, structural parts, e-motors, bobbins, switches and sensors
  • Industrial: water management, compressors, heat pumps, appliances, small engines, aerospace, oil and gas, pneumatics and hydraulics Xytron G4080HR is now available for sale worldwide. The material is manufactured by DSM NHU Engineering Plastics (Zhejiang) Co. Ltd., a joint venture of Royal DSM and specialty chemicals producer Zhejiang NHU Special Materials Co., Ltd. (NHU).

Further information from: DSM North America Hugh C. Welsh, President & General Counsel Tel. (973) 257-8208 E-mail hugh.welsh@dsm.com dsm.com/xytron.

Cost-effective alternatives to polyamide 66

The specialty chemicals company LANXESS is expanding the new polyamide 6 Durethan P product range with the addition of two highly reinforced material variants that can be used, among other things, as an economical alternative to polyamide 66 materials. Durethan BKV50PH2.0 and Durethan BKV60PH2.0EF have short glass fiber content levels of 50 and 60 percent by weight respectively. The “P” in the product name stands for “Performance” and indicates the high fatigue resistance of these materials against pulsating loads. This means that these grades are many times more resistant to cyclical mechanical loads than standard products with the same glass fiber content. Potential applications include supporting structures for electrical and electronics modules in batteries for electric vehicles, engine oil pans, oil filter modules and end caps, engine and chassis mounts, damper pistons, and seat shells for passenger cars. In mechanical engineering, the new materials are suitable for dynamically highly stressed components such as gear wheels.

Substituting polyamide 66 while maintaining component weight

The mechanical properties of both high-modulus thermoplastics are at a high level similar to those of comparable polyamide 66 materials. “As a result, we also see both product innovations as cost-effective alternatives to polyamide 66 compounds, which have become significantly more expensive recently due to their limited availability,” explains Dr. Thomas Linder, an expert in the development of Durethan. Tests at LANXESS revealed that it is possible to use product variants with the same glass fiber content and therefore the same material density as substitutes. As a result the component weight does not increase. At Fakuma, the international trade fair for plastics processing, in October 2018, LANXESS had presented the first representatives of the new product range with Durethan BKV30PH2.0, BKV35PH2.0, BKV40PH2.0, and Durethan BKV130P. Their glass fiber content levels are between 30 and 40 percent. Conceivable applications include air intake and oil filter modules for cars as well as load-bearing housings of power tools. The elastomer-modified Durethan BKV130P is particularly impact-resistant and is suitable for furniture locking system components, for example. All four compounds are also suitable substitutes for polyamide 66.

Better tensile strength at higher temperatures

Like their “siblings”, the two new highly reinforced compounds are characterized by improved mechanical and structural properties. “For example, their tensile strength at high temperatures is higher than standard polyamide 6 variants with the same glass fiber content,” says Linder. To assess this behavior under a pulsating load, LANXESS has developed a HiAnt fatigue screening test that is based on a conventional Wöhler test. This revealed that under a transverse load of 65 megapascals, the lifespan of Durethan BKV50PH2.0 is around eight times longer than that of a standard polyamide 6 with the same glass fiber content. In a corresponding comparison, Durethan BKV60PH2.0EF demonstrates a fatigue behavior that is around ten times better. At the same time, Durethan BKV60PH2.0EF is characterized by its good flow properties (easy flowing, EF). The thermoplastic is therefore easy to process despite its high degree of glass fiber reinforcement. Its flowability is of a similarly high level to that of a polyamide 6 with glass fiber content of 30 to 35 percent.

HiAnt – customer service right through to the start of production

The services with which LANXESS supports project partners during the development of components for use under pulsating loads include a wide range of component tests. “The equipment at our shaker technical center covers all current vibration tests for the fatigue behavior of components in vehicle applications,” explains Linder. Its customer service also includes pressure threshold tests on components from the vehicle cooling circuit as well as pressure change and backfire tests. All these services are part of HiAnt. Under this brand, LANXESS has bundled its engineering expertise in the development of thermoplastic components for customers.

Truck tires with less abrasion Synthetic rubber outperforms natural rubber

Initial testing of tires made from the nature-identical, biomimetic synthetic rubber BISYKA shows that they achieve around 30 to 50 percent less abrasion compared to natural rubber tires.

Truck tires have to put up with a lot: As a result of the heavy loads they carry and the long distances they travel every day, they are subject to heavy wear and tear. Consequently, the treads of the tires are manufactured primarily from natural rubber that comes from rubber trees and to date has demonstrated the best abrasion characteristics. Before now, artificially manufactured rubber has been unable to match the performance of natural rubber, at least in this respect. The problem with natural rubber is that the security of supply for this important raw material is endangered. In Brazil, the original home of the rubber tree, the fungus Microcyclus ulei is laying waste to whole plantations. If the fungus crosses over to Asia, where major cultivation areas are located today, the global production of rubber will be threatened.

Biomimetic synthetic rubber with optimized abrasion behavior (BISYKA)

In view of this threat, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institutes for Applied Polymer Research IAP, for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS, for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, for Mechanics of Materials IWM and for Silicate Research ISC have now optimized the characteristics of synthetic rubber. “Our synthetic rubber BISYKA – that's a German abbreviation for “biomimetic synthetic rubber” – actually has superior characteristics to natural rubber,” says Dr. Ulrich Wendler, who heads up the project at the Fraunhofer Pilot Plant Center for Polymer Synthesis and Processing PAZ in the German municipality of Schkopau. Fraunhofer PAZ is a joint initiative between Fraunhofer IAP and Fraunhofer IMWS. “Tires made of the synthetic rubber lose 30 percent less mass than equivalent tires made of natural rubber. On top of that, the synthetic tires have only half the tread loss. Furthermore, the synthetic rubber can be produced on an industrial scale using existing plants and equipment. This means that the synthetic rubber offers an excellent alternative to natural rubber – including the domain of high-performance truck tires.”

Targeted analysis of dandelion rubber

But how did the researchers achieve this higher performance? At Fraunhofer IME, scientists investigated rubber from dandelions. Like the rubber from rubber trees, 95 percent of dandelion rubber consists of polyisoprene, while the remaining percentage is made up of organic components such as proteins or lipids. The advantage of dandelion rubber over tree rubber: the former has a generation succession of just three months as opposed to seven years for the latter. That makes rubber made from dandelions an ideal starting point for investigating the influence of organic components on the rubber characteristics. To this end, the Fraunhofer researchers eliminated the key organic components involved in a targeted manner. After they had identified the organic components that were important for abrasion behavior, the researchers at Fraunhofer IAP synthesized the BISYKA rubber out of functionalized polyisoprene with high microstructural purity and the respective biomolecules. Their colleagues at Fraunhofer IWM and IMWS then investigated the characteristics of the rubber variants thereby obtained. To do this, they used extensional crystallization: If you stretch natural rubber to three times its length, crystalline regions form – the rubber hardens. “The extensional crystallization of BISYKA rubber equals that of natural rubber,” explains Wendler. When making truck tires, the rubber is usually mixed with carbon black – which is where the black color comes from. Increasingly, however, manufacturers are adding silicates to the mixture instead of carbon black. This is where the expertise of Fraunhofer ISC comes in: At the institute, scientists investigate how new kinds of silica fillers can lead to optimum alternatives to natural rubber in the automotive industry.

Synthetic rubber yields impressive results in practical tests

After the development of the BISYKA rubber, it was tested: Would it do what its extensional crystallization promised? The researchers handed over this question to an external and thus independent partner to investigate: Prüflabor Nord. For this purpose, four car tires were manufactured with a tread made from BISYKA and they were then compared with tires with a tread made from natural rubber. The tests were carried out directly on a car that drove 700 circuits in one direction and then 700 circuits in the other direction. And the result? While the natural rubber tire was 850 grams lighter after the test and lost 0.94 millimeters of tread, the BISYKA tire lost merely 600 grams and 0.47 millimeters of tread. The rolling resistance of the synthetic rubber was also better. On April 4, 2019, the researchers are presenting their results at a transfer workshop at the annual conference of the German Rubber Society, East (Deutsche Kautschuk-Gesellschaft Ost) in Merseburg, Germany.

Clariant launches new tube & stopper package to serve Vietnam market

Clariant, a focused and innovative specialty chemical company, today announced the launch of a new standard tube/desiccant stopper product, created and sized to serve the needs of the Vietnam market. The new product features a 25 mm x 132 mm tube along with a spiral stopper, to package effervescent tablets and protect them from breakage and moisture-related damage. The design also works well for chewables and lozenges. The product is being distributed in Vietnam by DKSH Vietnam Co., Ltd, and will be directly sourced from Clariant's plant in Changshu, China for an optimized supply chain. Durable, rigid tubes along with desiccant stoppers from Clariant offer a protection solution for breakable and moisture-sensitive pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals. Each tube is topped with a desiccant-filled 25 mm stopper that inhibits moisture entry while simultaneously adsorbing moisture within the tube to preserve the shelf life of the tablets. Stoppers will be equipped with tamper evidence features to ensure tablets' integrity. Standard filling is made of 100% silica gel, but other desiccants as molecular sieve are available upon request depending on application requirements. This packaging configuration is well suited to automated filling lines. Clariant produces a large range of pharmaceutical tube and stopper products to high quality standards (cGMP, ISO 15378) at manufacturing sites on three continents (Changshu, China; Romorantin, France; Belen, New Mexico, USA). For more information, visit Clariant at www.clariant.com/healthpack.

LANXESS intensifies focus on electromobility

Cologne – The specialty chemicals company LANXESS sees great application potential for its technical plastics under the brands Durethan (polyamide) and Pocan (polybutylene terephthalate) in the New Mobility growth market. This is why the High Performance Materials business unit founded the “e-Powertrain team”, which is geared to the needs of the global automotive industry and supports external partners throughout the entire development chain for components of electric vehicles and the associated infrastructure. This support includes materials that are tailor-made for specific customers and applications as well as processing development and engineering services for component design such as CAE simulations, moldflow calculations and finished product inspections. The new group is the central point of contact for electromobility development projects and inquiries from all regions. “We coordinate knowledge exchange among our application and processing development centers, which we operate in all of the world's major economic regions. The aim is to provide our international partners with the best possible products and service locally. We are also responsible for close-to-production and advance development projects,” explained Julian Haspel, who heads the team.

90 percent of all new vehicles electrified by 2035

It is estimated that far in excess of 120 million vehicles will be produced in 2035. According to studies conducted by LANXESS, around 90 percent of those will be electrified – equipped with either a mild-hybrid drive, plug-in-hybrid-drive or fully electric drive. However, around 80 percent – the vast majority – of newly registered vehicles will still have a combustion engine. “We expect both increasing vehicle electrification and the trend toward autonomous driving to entail a sharply rising demand for polyamides, polyesters such as PBT and continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites,” said Haspel, looking ahead.

New mix of properties needed

Above all, the main properties of the plastics used in components such as electric drives include low flammability, good thermal conductivity and, increasingly, electromagnetically shielding behavior. In addition to high strength, rigidity and toughness values, good electrical properties such as high creepage current resistance will still be needed. Furthermore, conductive components must not be prone to electrical corrosion – at least as far as this is possible. Taken in isolation, all these properties are nothing new for plastic applications in electrical engineering and electronics. To meet New Mobility requirements, however, these sometimes mutually exclusive requirements have to be combined. “Thanks to our many years of doing business with the E/E and automotive industries, we already have materials that conform to the most important global standards and standards of the E/E sector and are also used in vehicles,” said Haspel. “We are also constantly working on new formulations to meet customer requirements.”

Collaboration on setting norms and standards

The requirement profiles for many applications in electric vehicles are either still under discussion or vary among countries, automotive manufacturers and suppliers. Haspel: “We work together on projects with our partners from the automotive and E/E industries to influence the definition of new standards, and we utilize our experience with both sectors for that purpose. Our customers benefit from that.”

Wide range of applications

LANXESS has identified a range of key applications for its thermoplastics in the field of electromobility. In addition to charging systems, inverters, electric motors and ancillary units such as cooling pumps and heating systems for the interior, the main focus is the battery system, where potential applications include cell holders, spacers, covers, supply lines, module carriers and housing parts. In many of these applications, the manufacturers of E/E components use traditional materials such as die-cast metals. “We see huge potential here for substituting these for our high-modulus compounds and continuous-fiber-reinforced composites, for example in carriers of electronics modules in the area of the battery. We support manufacturers looking to exploit the lightweight construction potential, the design flexibility and the high, cost-reducing integration potential of our materials by providing material recommendations and component designs specially developed for plastic,” explained Haspel. With its outstanding strength and rigidity, halogen-free, flame-retardant polyamide 6 Durethan BKV45FN04 is ideal for not only module carriers but also battery cell frames and cover plates.

Preventing electrical corrosion

In the plastics used for live components in high-voltage batteries, the level of metal- and halide-containing additives must be kept to a minimum in order to prevent damage or failure as a result of electrical corrosion. Examples of such materials include polyamides from the Durethan brand with H3.0 or XTS3 thermostabilization. Haspel: “For extreme requirements, we are currently developing new compounds under the name Durethan LHC together with customers. LHC stands for low halide content.” The first product from this series is the easy-flowing polyamide 6 Durethan BKV30H3.0EF DUSLHC.

Autonomous driving and infrastructure for electric vehicles

The structural materials manufactured by LANXESS also offer great potential in electromobility infrastructure and in driver assistance systems – including in systems designed to enable autonomous driving. “We envisage them in a range of areas including housing parts, line circuit breakers and connection terminals in charging stations,” said Haspel. Possible applications in driver assistance systems include connectors and housings for sensors, displays and control units.

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