Archive for January, 2004

Business Communications: TPE Use in Hose and Tubing to Outperform Rivals

Saturday, January 31st, 2004

Use of thermoplastic elastomers in the U.S. for flexible polymeric hose and tubing will outperform competitive materials in coming years, though growth will be from a smaller base. A report by Business Communications Co., Norwalk, Conn., Polymeric Flexible Hose and Tubing Markets (RP-122U), finds that from 2003 to 2008, TPEs in this market will post an average annual growth rate of 3.4%, accounting for 68 million lb in 2008. Non-elastomeric thermoplastics, by contrast, will grow at an average annual rate of 2.7% to 468 million lb, and thermoset rubber will grow by 2.4% to 282 million lb. The market has five product categories: automotive and aeronautical hose and tubing, hydraulic hose, industrial hose, industrial tubing, and consumer and healthcare hose and tubing.

Pechiney: Four new blown film lines

Friday, January 30th, 2004

Pechiney Plastic Packaging has installed four new blown film lines at its Neenah plant. The lines were installed to keep up with growing demand for multi-layer, high barrier films. Greg Seeke, technical manager of the Neenah plant, explained that the advanced technology of the new film equipment creates a better roll profile all the way across the web, resulting in the most consistent heat seals, and ensuring the customer that there are no tracking issues on their equipment. The resulting smooth edges and flatter, less baggy material laminates without wrinkles.Some of the other areas Pechiney has seen demand for blown film is in sealant film in a poly or adhesive lamination, such as for cheese, meat, condiments, coffee, and pet food.

Oxford Polymers: Expansion of nylon capacity

Friday, January 30th, 2004

Growth in compounds based on nylon and polycarbonate has led custom compounder Oxford Polymers to add its eighth extrusion line. The new line – a 70 millimeter twin-screw – should be producing material by early January, according to Oxford chief financial officer David Gambardella.

Yiwu East Sanxing Plastic: Start of BOPET film production

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

A new Chinese company is to begin making bi-oriented PET film, following its purchase of equipment from Brückner and Valmet Atlas. Yiwu East Sanxing Plastic Industrial is a joint venture of three companies that have previously been involved in textiles and clothing. It agreed to buy a 7 metre-wide BOPET film line from Brückner Maschinenbau at Chinaplas 2003. Another contract was signed with Valmet Atlas for slitting and rewinding machinery for use on the line. Managing director of the new venture Chen Hongneng said the BOPET film plant will start running towards the end of 2004. Yiwu East Sanxing is located in Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province, around 300km south east of Shanghai.


Wednesday, January 21st, 2004

Apex (R) 80853F insulation compound, introduced just two months ago by Teknor Apex, has become the first lead stabilizer-free vinyl product to achieve Underwriters Laboratories listing for continuous service at 90 deg. C in wet locations in wire designated in the National Electrical Code (NEC) as THWN-2, it was announced today by Donald G. Ouellette, industry manager for Teknor Apex’s Vinyl Division

“Although manufacturers of conventional wire and cable compounds have used lead stabilizers to ensure retention of electrical properties, our new Apex compound provides insulation so effective that it actually replaces lead-containing formulations,” Ouellette said.

Lead-based heat stabilizers provide PVC polymer with high resistance to thermal degradation, which can compromise electrical performance. Yet while most insulators based on standard lead-containing vinyl compounds are restricted for use only with black formulations and in wire above a certain minimum gauge, the new Apex 80853F compound is unrestricted as to color or gauge.

“To our knowledge, Apex 80853F is the only no-lead vinyl compound rated for wet-location use at 90 deg. C continuous service available from any supplier, whether merchant or captive compounder,” Ouellette said. “Since the typical THWN application presents the worst-case scenario in that its vinyl insulation is thinnest, the outstanding electrical properties of this new compound make it suitable for a wide range of other uses as well.”

THWN-2 wire is nylon-jacketed, vinyl-insulated building wire used in industrial-equipment applications such as control wires for motors. Other wet-location uses anticipated for
the new compound include machine-tool wiring (MTW), appliance wire (AWM), and outdoor flexible cord (STW), according to Ouellette.

Teknor Apex received the 90 deg. C listing for Apex 80853F from UL only months after the compound was listed for continuous service at 75 and 105 deg. C in wet and dry locations, respectively. The development of the new compound is only the latest achievement in a longtime program at Teknor Apex to eliminate lead-containing additives from its compounds, according to Ouellette. “A wide range of our wire and cable products are now free of lead stabilizer yet provide electrical properties as good as or better than the compounds that they have replaced.”

EDI: Fast die-gap changes

Wednesday, January 21st, 2004

The FastGap (R) system widely used by extrusion processors to change sheet or film thickness without stopping production now yields even more extruder uptime, it was announced today by Extrusion Dies Industries, LLC (EDI).

Although the patented single-point adjustment mechanism in the standard FastGap system eliminates the need to reset the flexible-lip bolts or install an alternate lower lip with each change in product thickness, processors still must shut down lines periodically to disassemble, clean, and lubricate the FastGap mechanism. Now the new Toggle FastGap (TM) system, for which EDI last month secured another U.S. Patent (No. 6,663,375 B1), ends even this downtime.

Both standard and Toggle FastGap systems effect changes in die gap by applying force at regular intervals along the lower lip of the die in order to bend the lip. To actuate either system, the operator uses a special wrench supplied by EDI to turn an adjusting nut at one end of the die.

In standard FastGap equipment, the gap-changing mechanism consists of a stationary and a moving bar with arrays of male and female keys, respectively, set at an angle to one another so that the keys slide against one another, under considerable pressure, during gap adjustment. “The repeated metal-on-metal contact is what has made lubrication necessary,” said John A. Ulcej, executive vice president of engineering and technology. “To eliminate lubrication, we’ve replaced the old mechanism with an array of toggles along the width of the die; instead of the sliding motion of the keys, there is the rotary motion of the pins and bushings at the ends of the toggle shafts. In addition, the toggles provide greater mechanical advantage in translating the adjusting torque applied by the operator into the bending force exerted upon the lower lip.”

FastGap (R) System Triples Range of Available Die Gap Settings

Conventional dies have a fixed lower lip and a movable or flexible upper lip. The upper lip is called upon both to control the transverse thickness profile and to change the operating gap—functions which often work at cross purposes, noted Ulcej.

\’Until we developed FastGap technology, changing the operating gap required an interruption of production so that the operator could carry out a very careful manual resetting of the flex-lip bolts. If the desired new gap was outside the flex-lip range, the lower lip had to be changed to one with a larger opening.\’

A die equipped with a FastGap system on its lower lip operates on the principle of “separate lip responsibilities,” with gap adjustment carried out on the lower lip. But since adjustment of the flexible upper lip also affects the die opening, the combination of the two lip functions actually triples the available range of gap settings in comparison with a conventional die, Ulcej said. “With adjustment of the lower lip only, the die opening can be varied over a range of 0.200 in. (5.1 mm). An additional 0.100 in. (2.5 mm) is available with the top lip of the die, which controls the transverse gauge profile. Together, these capabilities increase the range of gap adjustment from the previous maximum of 0.100 in. (2.5 mm) to 0.300 in. (7.6 mm).”

The adjusting device used by the extrusion-line operator to activate the FastGap system is equipped with a micrometer-like gauge which precisely indicates gap settings. \’Selecting a specific setting is easy,” Ulcej said, “as is returning to that setting after opening the gap to clean out the die or perform other maintenance.”

The ability to make substantial changes in product thickness without stopping production is a major advantage for custom processors and other manufacturers that carry out frequent product changeovers. Companies running film and thin sheet also benefit because the FastGap system permits purging to be carried out quickly, without having to stop the line. Special FastGap systems with reduced ranges of gap settings are available for producers of thin film.

Pliant: Expansion of Stretch-Film Capacity

Monday, January 19th, 2004

Pliant Corp., USA, a major producer of films and flexible packaging, has expanded capacity in Toronto by an undisclosed amount to meet demand for its R122 high-speed machine film and R410 hand film, products from the Revolution line of stretch films. Revolution stretch films reportedly offer load retention at reduced gauges, resulting in cost savings on a per-pallet-wrapped basis.

Technoplast: Management buy-in

Monday, January 19th, 2004

Werner Kampichler, general mananger of Technoplast Kunststofftechnik, Austria, has acquired 5% of the company specialising in tools for production of window profiles. The Kampichler Holding owns 95% of the company, which employs 250 people and had sales of EUR 36m in financial 2002-2003 (31 March). In financial year 2003/2004, Kampichler expects sales of EUR 40 Mio.

Linpac: Purchase of Infia

Thursday, January 15th, 2004

U.K. packaging supplier Linpac Plastics has acquired Infia of Italy, another packaging company, in a deal that expands Linpac’s products and markets. Both companies are private and the value of the deal was not disclosed. Linpac produces food packaging, primarily film and polystyrene foam, as well as disposable tableware in 25 factories worldwide. It employs 4000. Infia is a leading European supplier of fruit and produce packaging, with plants in Bologna, Italy, and Valencia, Spain. It employs 300. Infia has a strong position in Italy, Spain, and France, and has moved aggressively to serve rapidly growing markets around the Mediterranean. Linpac not only gains access to the products and markets of Infia, but now provides a range of packaging materials including APET, polypropylene, PS foam, PVC films, and barrier films.

Clariant: A new generation of flame retardants

Thursday, January 15th, 2004

The 11th internationally renowned Flame Retardants Conference will be held in London, England on 27/28 January 2004. The Pigments & Additives Division is using this opportunity to present two innovative flame retardants from the Exolit® OP range. These non-halogenated, highly effective additives have been specifically developed for use in glass-fibre reinforced thermoplastics. They are also the subject of a lecture “A New Generation of Flame Retarded Polyamides based on Phosphinates”, which Dr. Sebastian Hörold of BU Plastic Industries will be giving on Tuesday, 27 January.

Exolit OP 1311 (TP) and 1312 (TP) are two flame retardants based on metal phosphinates. For use in glass-fibre reinforced polyamides, they also contain suitable synergists. Both flame retardants are characterised by a high Comparative Tracking Index (CTI) of 600 Volt and low compound density. In contrast to the usual halogenated flame retardants, Exolit OP hardly affects the mechanical properties of the compound. Only small amounts are needed to achieve a flame retardant classification of UL 94 V0 or a Glow Wire Flammability Index (GWFI) of 960°C. These amounts are well below those required by other systems, with the exception of red phosphorus.

Furthermore, Exolit OP 1311 and 1312 are easily dispersible, have good rheological properties and can be easily coloured. There are also no problems when using them for injection moulding. However, the manufacture of complex shapes often requires high temperatures and high injection speeds. Exolit OP 1312 offers a specially stabilised system for Polyamid 6.6 which withstands the highest stresses. The main use of this additive is in flame retarded injection mouldings for the electrical and electronic industries, two areas where stringent fire performance standards apply.

Both products are registered in Europe (ELINCS) and in the United States (TSCA) and registration in Japan (METI) is currently in progress. A pilot plant is at present in use at Clariant for product development and commercial introduction. A large-scale plant is under construction at Knapsack, Germany and will be operational by the end of 2004.