Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Lower cost polymer combats plasma effectively

To replace Vespel electrical insulators in plasma cutting torches, a manufacturer chose lower cost PEEK polymer that offered the same electrical insulating and high temperature properties.

When Esab Welding and Cutting Products of Florence, South Carolina, USA, wanted to replace the Vespel electrical insulators in their plasma cutting torches, they chose Victrex PEEK polymer. The polymer offers the same electrical insulating and high temperature properties as Vespel but is less expensive and easier to machine. Plasma cutting torches are used to cut and fabricate metal parts.

They utilize electricity to create an arc between the electrode (torch body) and the work piece.

'The arc is forced through a nozzle with a small hole in it along with a flow of gas, such as air, and this results in the air becoming very, very hot, up to tens of thousands of degrees,' explains Stan Severance, Staff Engineer at Esab.

'As a result, this high temperature effluent of gas along with the arc can cut through metal.' Located in the head of the torch, the PEEK polymer insulator electrically insulates two different potentials inside the torch from each other.

Explains Severance, 'A torch typically has two electrical potentials.

One is associated with the electrode and the other is associated with the nozzle.

In order to start the torch, an arc is struck between the electrode and the nozzle which is called a pilot arc.

Once the pilot arc makes contact with the work piece, the arc transfers to the work piece.

It is necessary to separate the electrode potential from the nozzle potential.

This means having one or more insulators inside the torch body to insulate the two potentials from one another.' Because the insulators are exposed to the high voltage electrical discharge used to start the torch, they must be able to withstand very high temperatures.

Explains Severance, 'To get the arc started, you can have very high voltages - up to 10,000V - at high frequency, plus temperatures can be very high especially in air-cooled torches.' Before switching to PEEK polymer, Severance said 'We looked at a variety of different materials.

Vespel is very expensive and it has a very complicated manufacturing process.

We wanted a material that would be substantially less expensive but still have all the properties needed to meet the requirements of the application.

In addition to good electrical insulative properties and good high temperature properties, we wanted machinability, heat aging and creep resistance.

PEEK polymer fulfills all these requirements.' With operations in a large number of countries, Esab is the world's largest producer of welding and cutting consumables and equipment.

Industrial cleaners adopt polymer helical gears

When a leading manufacturer of industrial cleaning equipment, wanted a material for the helical gear wheels in its spray heads, it chose a polymer because of its superior chemical resistance.

When Toftejorg A/S of Denmark, a leading manufacturer of industrial cleaning equipment, wanted a material for the helical gear wheels in their equipment's spray heads, they chose Victrex PEEK polymer because of its superior chemical resistance and high mechanical strength. According to Andrew Ragan, Victrex Global Leader polymer was chosen because of its resistance to virtually all organic and inorganic solvents, and because it delivers the required high mechanical fatigue strength over a wide range of temperatures and pressures.' The cleaning equipment is used in a variety of demanding environments including cargo ship containers for transporting crude oil, chemicals or solid bulk products. The containers are cleaned after the cargo has been unloaded to prevent contamination of the new cargo.

Depending on the applied pressure and nozzle system used, the equipment can completely clean a tank within a few minutes.

The gear wheels are manufactured in a custom mold specially designed for co-injecting an unfilled PEEK polymer resin onto a pre-heated metal insert.

Using the polymer gives the wheels the ability to resist high mechanical loads and provide long-term resistance to both cleaning agents and aggressive residual media in the storage tanks.

And, because unfilled PEEK polymer complies with FDA regulations for repeated food contact, Toftejorg can also market its products to the food and beverage industry.

Victrex USA, a division of Victrex., is the sole manufacturer and supplier of PEEK polymer worldwide.

For more information on the properties and performance advantages of Victrex PEEK polymer, please call (800) Victrex or visit the Victrex website.

The PEEK trademark - for many years Victrex has been using the PEEK trademark to refer to its brand of Polyaryletherketone.

Victrex is the sole manufacturer and supplier of the PEEK brand polymer worldwide.

PEEK is a trademark of Victrex.

Latest guide includes nano-filler technology

Particulate fillers in polymers continue to play a very important role and a book provides a guide to the fundamentals and has a chapter covering the latest developments in nano-filler technology.

The use of particulate fillers in polymers has a long history, and they continue to play a very important role today. The aim of Rapra's new Handbook, Particulate-filled Polymer Composites, Second Edition, is to provide a guide to the fundamentals of the use of particulate fillers, which is accessible to people from the many different industries and disciplines who have an interest in the subject. In the relatively short time since the publication of the first edition in 1995, much has changed and all the chapters have been updated and revised, and a completely new chapter covering the latest developments in nano-filler technology is included.

Particulate-filled Polymer Composites begins by considering the selection and use of particulate fillers, including factors such as cost, purity, particle size and shape, and density.

This is followed by discussion of the different types of particulate filler, the characterisation of filler surfaces and their modification.

The current practices for preparing particulate filled polymers are described, as are characterisation of the compounds and the relationship between compounding route and material properties.

The use of particulate fillers in specific classes of polymers (elastomers, thermoplastics, and thermosets) is described.

Effects of other additives, the properties of the filler, and the performance, processing and application of the filled polymer are considered.

The author, Roger Rothon, is now an independent consultant, specialising in the production, surface modification and application of particulate fillers for polymer composites.

He previously worked for ICI for over 25 years, where he was responsible for several new product developments, including new types of coupling agents for silica and calcium carbonates and novel conductive and magnetic fillers.

After leaving ICI, he was Technical Manager for Flamemag International, where he led the development of a new process for the production of magnesium hydroxide flame retardant fillers.

In 1996 he was made a visiting Professor at the Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is now involved in research on filler surface modifiers.

Mould-in films cut automotive production costs

Hardcoated in-mould decoration films simplify the production process by reducing the number of manufacturing stages and streamlining part production.

Autotype International has launched a new family of hardcoated films designed to meet the growing plastic component demands of the automotive industry, while helping to reduce both costs and lead times. The new Autoflex In-Mould Decoration (IMD) films simplify the production process by reducing the number of manufacturing stages and streamlining part production. The hardcoated films are reverse printed, formed and cut to shape before being back injection moulded.

Developed for shallow, medium and deep-draw IMD applications, Autotype's new films provide the perfect solution whereby intricate graphics can be reproduced on 3D components, such as HVACs, PRNDLs and other automotive interior parts.

The four films that make up the range have been individually designed to provide a variety of options, enabling end users to specify the film that best meets the demands of different applications.

The range includes Autoflex EBG, which is ideal for cost-effective embossing and shallow-form applications; Autoflex AutoForm, best suited for gently-formed parts where micro-cracking must be avoided; and the innovative Autoflex HiForm and robust Autoflex XtraForm films.

HiForm features an ingenious self-healing coating that repairs itself when scratched and is ideal for parts that require a medium depth of form with simplicity of processing, whilst Autoflex XtraForm is designed for deep form applications where maximum draw and extra hardness are required.

The Autoflex IMD range delivers all the design and cost advantages associated with other forms of IMD technology, but also offers a number of additional benefits, including high levels of abrasion resistance for component parts likely to be exposed to excessive wear and tear, and the ability to be used for backlit components or where complex or photographic quality graphics are required.

Perhaps as importantly, as Richard Townsend, Product Manager at Autotype, explains, 'Unlike first surface In-Mould Decoration or the use of uncoated films, Autoflex IMD is an extremely economical technology, offering low unit costs due to savings both in tooling costs and reductions in the number of moulding, assembly and finishing processes and materials required.'

PBT plastics mouldings need no annealing

PBT plastics allows a user to mould an airflow sensor body in one piece without annealing - saving two production steps, when compared to alternative materials.

Hitachi Automotive Systems Europe has selected a reinforced Arnite polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) blend from DSM Engineering Plastics for injection moulded mass airflow sensor body destined for Audi engines. Arnite TV4 261 30% glass reinforced grade PBT provides a combination of properties important to the application, including excellent flow, long term dimensional stability, stiffness and strength over a wide temperature range and chemical resistance. Production requires only moulding - no annealing is required to relieve internal stresses that could lead to warpage.

'Throughput is excellent with this design,' said Andrew Bridge, procurement and design manager for Hitachi.

'The ability to mould the unit in one piece without annealing saves us two production steps compared to less sophisticated, two-piece approaches with alternative materials.' The Hitachi body serves both to mount the mass airflow sensor system precisely and to shape air flow using a moulded-in grid.

To control the turbulent airflow, the grid induces a laminar flow that helps ensure accurate feedback about engine air intake temperature to the engine control unit.

Mass airflow sensor data help engine control systems maintain an optimum air-fuel balance.

The grid's thin-wall elements and intricate geometry benefit from Arnite's flow properties, minimising moulded-in stresses and strains that later might contribute to warpage or unpredictable dimensional change, causing the sensor to misread airflow.

The design process for the component was a collaboration involving Hitachi, moulder and toolmaker WH Smith and Sons, materials and processing expert DSM Engineering Plastics and design and mold flow specialist DSM/DADC (Design and Development Centre).

* About Hitachi Europe - Hitachi Europe Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Limited, Japan.

Headquartered in Maidenhead, UK, it has operations in 15 countries and employs 470 people across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

As a 'Best Solutions Partner' Hitachi Europe tailors its services and solutions to meet the specific needs of its customers.

Hitachi Europe comprises eleven key business areas: power and industrial systems; rail; industrial components and equipment; information systems; high performance computing; digital media; display products; air-conditioning and refrigeration systems; procurement and sourcing; corporate technology group (research and development) and the Hitachi Design Centre.

Hitachi Automotive Systems Europe is headquartered in Horwich, Bolton UK.

* About DSM Engineering Plastics - DSM Engineering Plastics is a business group forming part of DSM's Performance Materials cluster.

DSM Engineering Plastics is a global supplier of Stanyl PA46 and Akulon 6 and 66 polyamides, Arnitel TPE-E, Arnite PBT and PET polyesters, Xantar polycarbonate, Yparex extrudable adhesive resins, and Stamylan UH Ultra High Molecular Weight PE.

These materials are used in technical components for electrical appliances, electronic equipment and cars, in barrier packaging films as well as in many mechanical and extrusion applications.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Showing the way for low-energy polymer processing

The newly reconstituted Faraday Plastics has produced a 'technology road map' for low-energy polymer processing industry into measuring and bettering its energy-use performance.

The newly reconstituted Faraday Plastics, the UK's plastics research and development centre, has produced a 'technology road map' (TRM) for low-energy polymer processing that aims to catalyse tbe plastics and rubber industry into measuring its energy-use performance and changing it for the better. Among the recommendations of the TRM report are: * Industry benchmarking and sectoral targets - a programme of market research is recommended to study how energy-efficient (or not) the polymer processing sector is in its current practices. * Heater insulation - a campaign to promote the use of insulation and to save energy wastage and cost in this area.

* Demonstration Unit - establishing a 'show and tell unit' to demonstrate to processors the benefits of energy efficiency * Cost of Ownership Model - establishing a financial model for typical paybacks - so as to incentivise the industry to adopt energy saving measures.

* Training - to be provided in energy measurement and management.

Faraday Plastics director, Richard Simpson notes that 'this is the beginning - not the end - of a very important debate that needs to happen within the plastics and rubber sector on energy -processing.

Not only does the practice make commercial and competitive sense - but energy efficiency is also desirable on environmental and health and safety grounds.' Simpson adds that 'issues such as the climate change levy have put polymer processors more into the 'front line', and have politicised these issues to some degree.

The good news is that moulders who save their own costs through lower energy bills are also making a positive contribution to the environmental health and credentials of their industry.

I urge all involved in processing to read our TRM report and to help us help the sector in implementing its findings.' The Technology Road Map technique - used in this case by Faraday Plastics to create a future scenarios for lower energy technologies - is a high level business tool - developed in industry, management and also politics - to support planning and to help programmes such as national foresight schemes.

In its most basic form, it is a time-based futures chart that includes commercial, legislative and environmental perspectives.

Ideally, the TRM tools allow the user to more completely visualise the evolution of markets and technologies - the linkages and the consequences of certain factors and inputs.

The new Faraday Plastics business plan was agreed in Spring of this year, ensuring further DTI funding for the next three years.

The newly constituted Faraday Plastics gives companies in the UK plastics sector an opportunity to be able to continue to attract plastics technology development funding and access Faraday Plastics initiatives.

Faraday Plastics has also selected a number of priority areas for the next three years: These are energy; recycling and sustainability; nano and smart materials; healthcare and automotive applications.

Faraday Plastics has a new, independent and high profile chairman in Professor Tony Ledwith, former chairman of the EPSRC.

Lord Sainsbury, Government Minister for Science and Innovation recently described Faraday Plastics as having added 'coherence to the disparate and fragmented activities that are taking place in this sector.

It has helped stimulate new products and processes, new patents, and new start-up companies,' said Sainsbury.

The new Technology Road Map on Low-Energy Polymer Processing is available free of charge on application to Faraday Plastics.

Polymer satisfies high temperature conveyor needs

When designing conveyor belt chains for high-speed beverage and food processing lines, a company chose a polymer for its high temperature and superior chemical resistance properties.

When Tokyo-based Yamakyu Chain Company was designing conveyor belt chains for high-speed beverage and food processing lines, they chose Victrex PEEK polymer for its high temperature and superior chemical resistance properties. According to Andrew Ragan, Victrex Global Leader polymer slat band chains are proving an ideal fit for the food processing industry where high heat resistance and superior chemical resistance are an essential requirement. Traditionally, this industry has used intermesh, low friction transfer plates made from acetal.

But acetal's operating temperature limit of 176degF (80degC) prohibits its use in high-temperature environments.

Chains made with PEEK polymer, on the other hand, can withstand exposure to temperatures as high as 482degF (250degC).' In addition, the PEEK polymer chains offer superior long-term resistance against detergents such as chlorine and hydrogen peroxide as well as antistatic properties.

Stainless steel has typically been the material of choice for chains requiring high heat resistance.

However, stainless steel chains need lubrication to ensure smooth operation and this creates adhesion problems and product contamination.

'PEEK polymer is naturally lubricious,' says Ragan.

'The chains can run at a rate of 11ft/sec (200m/min) without lubrication.' In addition, the chains are a third of the weight of stainless steel chains.

This allows for motor downsizing that saves power and reduces operating noise.' Yamakyu is a leading manufacturer of slat band chains for conveyors.

The company focuses on offering customers a total solution from chain selection to the design and manufacture of a complete conveyor system to meet individual requirements.

Victrex USA, a division of Victrex plc, is the sole manufacturer and supplier of PEEK polymer worldwide.

Plastics track plates may be largest yet

The largest plastics track plates yet produced by the industry are intended for the newest sub sea tractor to install interconnecting array cables used to gather power from offshore windmills.

Quadrant Engineering Plastics Products (formerly Erta and Polypenco) recently produced the largest plastics track plates in the industry for the newest sub sea tractor developed by Soil Machine Dynamics. The machine runs on a D6 chain. The sub sea tractor is used to install the interconnecting array cables used to gather the power from offshore wind turbines.

Despite weighing almost 60 tonnes (132,000 lb) when fully loaded, the Nylatrack track plates are able to support and propel the vehicle on the weakest soils typical at wind farm sites.

Nylatrack track plates are cast from a specially modified nylon and can be fitted on various kinds of machines operating on all types of surface.

On paved roads, they cause no damage, and on soft ground, even marsh, they do not sink.

Compared with steel plates, Nylatrack track plates are highly resistant to wear and corrosion, and light in weight - up to 80% lighter, saving as much as 2500kg per machine.

Because of the flexibility of track plates, vibrations are absorbed and the noise of the undercarriage is muffled.

The bending force is absorbed so that broken chains are no longer a problem.

Standard track plates vary in width, weight and chain pitch for machines of up to 30 tonnes weight.

For machines up to 90 tonnes, special plates can be designed.

Different types are available for optimum traction or low surface pressure.

Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products is the world leader in the manufacture of engineering plastics in stock shapes (rod, plate and tube) for machining.

Quadrant EPP also produces custom nylon castings and finished parts and is the sole manufacturer of Extreme Materials with a unique combination of properties: vastly improved wear resistance, better dimensional stability over a wider temperature range, greater strength at higher temperatures and new levels of static dissipation.

Nano-composites development 'roadmap' formulated

Faraday Plastics and Hybridnet held a successful Technology Road Map meeting on the 'Commercialisation of Polymer/Ceramic Hybrids and Nano-Composites'.

Faraday Plastics and Hybridnet (an EPSRC funded network) held a successful Technology Road Map meeting on the Commercialisation of Polymer/Ceramic Hybrids and Nano-Composites. A group of twenty five met at Sheffield Hallam University to map out the future for the sector. Representatives were included from Faraday Plastics, Hybridnet, Sheffield Hallam University, Nottingham Trent University, Surrey University, Brunel University, PowdermatriX, Qinetiq, Linpac, DSTL, Imreys, JCB, Zotefoams, and Faraday ADVANCE.

Major areas of technology and research in polymer nanotechnology were highlighted.

Discussion topics included applications, funding, materials modelling, processing, materials characterisation and industry skills.

In a recent statement Lord Sainsbury, Government Minister for Science and Technology noted that 'Nanotechnology promises huge benefits for the environment and our health and wealth.

Today's investment will help UK companies take advantage of the exciting commercial opportunities offered by scientific advances in nanotechnology.

Some estimates predict a global market in nanotechnology worth over $1 trillion in a decade.

I want to make sure the UK wins a share of this prize with a prosperous, world-class nanotechnology sector in the UK.' Notes from the Faraday Plastics/Hybridnet October 23 TRM material on polymer/ceramic nanocomposites will now be developed into a final document that will be presented at the next Hybridnet meeting to the TRM attendees and other interested bodies on 7th January 2004.

The meeting will be held at Oxford University, Materials Science Park at Begbroke, Oxfordshire and will be organized by Faraday ADVANCE.

More durable plastics to be developed for vehicles

Superior hardcoating/scratch-resistant materials and processes will be developed in the UK's Foresight Vehicle research project.

Danielson has reinforced its reputation for breaking new technological ground by playing a central role in a partnership research project that is key to the UK's national automotive R and D programme, Foresight Vehicle. The aim of the project, known as PABS2K, is to develop superior hardcoating/scratch-resistant materials and processes that will meet increasingly stringent environmental requirements and growing expectations for safety, cost, performance and desirability. Danielson, one of five industrial partners involved in the project, will contribute manpower, equipment and materials to ensure background work, sample preparation and testing are completed successfully.

In return, Danielson will be the first European supplier of specialised man/machine interfaces, nameplates, labels and metal-fabricated parts to gain access to the project's findings and resulting technologies.

The three-year project has two main focal points; the continued development of Vitresyn hardcoats - a TWI trademark-registered product - and the establishment of transparent nanocomposites through improved stiffness and increased abrasion resistance.

In particular, Danielson will be involved in the evaluation of improvements to resistance against abrasion and adhesion testing.

Ben Phelan, Head of Automotive Division at Danielson, said the project would benefit a wide range of industries.

'This ground-breaking project will ensure the development of formulae, testing procedures and, ultimately, production processes that can be applied to a number of products, including badges and kickplates.

Danielson's involvement in PABS2K secures our reputation of actively supporting new production techniques and introducing the very latest technologies.' The Polymeric Automotive Body System (PABS) project relies on the development of dual-injection moulding techniques to create tough, adaptable components that comply with Foresight Vehicle's aim of stimulating technologies fit for the vehicles of the future.

Part funded by the Department of Trade and Industry, the programme's key objective is to make a significant impact on the use of energy and the emission of pollutants.

Alan Taylor, Principal Project Leader at TWI, said that along with other project partners, Danielson's involvement was critical to the success of PABS2K.

'Getting a company like Danielson on board was important because of their experience in automotive trims and membrane panels.

We've developed a close working relationship with Danielson and their input has been invaluable.'

Friday, February 23, 2007

Polymer research and test house adds on 3D systems

Europe's leading polymer research and test house, has invested in software and three new work stations to ensure the company's leadership in plastics product design and testing.

Rapra Technology, Europe's leading polymer research and test house, has recently invested in new software and three new work stations, as well as additional consultant resources, in order to ensure the company's continuing leadership in the business of plastics product design and testing. Rapra now offers 3D design analysis and services through the IDEAS 3D design, through to SigmaSoft true 3D flow analysis and MSC Patran and Marc, together with finite element analysis (FEA). 'All of these are fine products and services on their own,' says Andi Clements,' business development manager for the technology, 'but taken together by the user, they are far greater than the sum of their parts.

We are even working with the software suppliers for complementary support using the other software that we have, but adding our own specialist materials knowledge'.

Leading OEMs are all numbered in the range of Rapra clients that are increasingly using the CAD services to establish fault free, long-term plastics product design and launch, as well as improving those elements of design and production that are already underway.

Over œ100,000 of consultancy business has already been sold in relation to the new CAD resources.

These Rapra services are also in demand from designers and suppliers of plastics materials; anxious to ensure that their materials perform as stated from the time they are moulded throughout their service life.

The demands and expectations of plastics materials and components are also becoming increasingly stringent - from Tier 1 and 2 suppliers to all industries where product and component performance is an essential part of business.

Clements says of the new technology that, 'exporting the fibre orientation or residual stress pattern from true 3D flow into FEA means that we can run realistic loading on a realistic moulded part.

Running FEA on an already pre-stressed part also gives a much more realistic description of what the part will experience in reality.

Effectively this gives us the ability to inform our customers on how to make really informed value-engineering decisions using real data.' Rapra Technology Chief Executive Andrew Ward notes that recent business expansions have been greatly enabled by the new structure of the company.

'At the time of the Management Buy Out in July 2002 we promised investment in the fundamentals.

We are delighted to be delivering on that promise now.' Ward adds that 'Rapra's research, technical and analytic strengths underpin all that we do.

Helping companies to address their product design and development issues is one of our key stated business growth areas.

Benchmarks to be set for plastics manufacture

The plastics compounding group at the British Plastics Federation is undertaking industrial analytical work by creating a number of benchmarks for its manufacturing performance.

The plastics compounding group at the British Plastics Federation is undertaking some leading-edge industrial analytical work by creating a number of benchmarks for its manufacturing performance. Five leading companies from the sector are taking part in the current exercise which is being led and facilitated by PICME, the Process Industries Centre for Manufacturing Excellence. The five UK compounders from the BPF compounders group taking part are Albis, Distrupol, Hellyar, Asahi and JPG Perrite.

A structured approach to industrial benchmarking will be offered in a group setting in order that the companies can learn form each other's experiences and methods.

The PICME benchmarking suite of tools - especially developed for the process industries - will be used.

Each company will initially collect data on their business and operations metrics.

The data will then be processed and feedback to each participant individually and supported by a written report and on site visit.

As part of the exercise a group report will be generated which will show the performance of the group on key operational and business metrics.

This will also be presented to participating firms.

The first batch of company feedback is expected in the next 6-8 weeks.

PICME is no stranger to plastics compounding, having undertaken manufacturing assessments, benchmarking and masterclasses at a number of important UK sites, including names such as Doeflex, Vita and Stakehill.

For the past two years PICME has also sponsored the compounding section of the Plastics Industry Awards.

PICME consultant Steve Williamson notes that group benchmarking can be a difficult process - but the eventual gains for the industry can be enormous.

'The benefits of collaborating in this way come out in the opportunities to learn about best performance and practice - even from other related sectors,' says Williamson.

Good customer service or safety practices, for example, are often readily transferable from other sectors.

Adaptation skills, however, are often needed, and this is where the PICME/BPF sponsoring forum can make all the difference and provide invaluable assistance.' Peter Davis, Director General of the British Plastics Federation is delighted that the compounding sector of the plastics industry is engaged with this element of PICME's work.

He encourages others - especially in plastics processing, and in injection moulding - to do more in terms of their manufacturing improvement and world-class competitiveness.

'We have long been a supporter of PICME and its manufacturing mission and are pleased to be using the organisation's skills in this way.

My hope is that more and more UK plastics processing companies will raise their manufacturing performance through use of PICME's services, tools and techniques,' he adds.

In addition to plastics compounding PICME has also recently facilitated group benchmarking exercises for the batch chemicals, aerosols, and coatings sectors and is also about to start work with the BPF's pipes group in a similar fashion.

Compact dehumidifying dryers have molecular sieves

Compact dehumidifying dryers with molecular sieves can be installed on the machine or on trolleys and free up much more floor space for the plastics processor.

Sandretto UK has launched a new range of compact dehumidifying dryers, manufactured by Dal Maschio in Italy. The new range is immediately available to UK customers. 'The new designs free up much more floor space for the plastics processor,' comments Chris Whitlam of Sandretto UK.

'The equipment is made in stainless steel and a good deal of attention has been paid to making sure that the design aesthetics lead the field.' The Sandretto UK dehumidifier drying systems with molecular sieves represent the most advanced solution in the continuous cycle dehumidification of all hydroscopic material.

Only a very low percentage of moisture is left before the polymer processing takes place.

The series is comprised of models which can be installed on the machine or on trolleys, realising real dehumidifying plants with one or more hoppers.

The different produced models have an air capacity from 30 to 600m3/h.

Meanwhile Sandretto UK's hot air dryers have been designed for the treatment of non hygroscopic thermoplastic granules.

The temperature is electronically controlled.

Particular technical and structural features guarantee quality production processes and make for large amounts of energy conservation.

The range is composed of various models with air capacity from 30 to 250m3/h and the dryers can be installed on the machine, beside the machine and in sets for centralised installations.

Smallest capacity dryer processes polymers

Compressed air dryer - the smallest in a range - typically processes polymers at a rate of 1-3 kilos an hour and has capacity of a throughput at up to 10 kilos an hour.

Vienna based Wittmann has introduced the compressed air dryer, the DryMax 15, to its award-winning range of materials dryers. UK sales have already been achieved for Wittmann's newest and smallest capacity dryer, which typically processes polymers at a rate of 1-3 kilos an hour and has capacity of a throughput at up to 10 kilos an hour. Wittmann UK's most recent sale of the DryMax 15 in the UK has been to an insert-moulder producing very small parts at near micro moulded tolerances.

The rate of material per hour needed was 1.4 kilos - ideally suited to the DryMax 15 which is fixed to the customer's injection moulding machine.

'Very often,' says Ed Holmes of Wittmann UK, 'most dryers are overly big for the purpose required.

This customer wanted a more appropriate capacity and the DryMax 15 was the ideal solution.' The Drymax 15 and its elder brother the DryMax 30 are designed for use on moulding machines of between 25 and 150 tonne locking force.

Meanwhile lighting specialist Fotolec has recently invested in a new materials drying and handling systems supplied by Wittmann UK.

The award-winning Wittmann Compact 100 polymer drying unit was chosen to make sure that the Fotolec polymers reach the coating process in optimum condition.

The new Wittmann dryer is playing its part in the production cycle by drying the stored polymer to the optimum temperatures.

Even a small amount of moisture can jeopardise the processing conditions, and these need to be within strict tolerances for successful manufacture.

The Wittmann Compact 100 is consequently fitted with valve technology that will prevent over drying - and overpaying for energy used.

After drying the resins are then delivered to the Fotolec production line via Wittmann's S18 single phase hopper loader.

Wittmann UK made sure to optimise Fotolec's processing by trialing its materials on a standard machine off-site - and then, once satisfied, supplying the company with the Compact 100 for full production.

Pre-processed polyethylene gives better properties

Pre-processed polyethylene resins provide improved properties - including superior mechanical properties, reusability and recyclabilitiy without using chemical cross linking agents.

Ion Beam Applications, together with its subsidiary IBA Advanced Applications, has introduced a new family of pre-processed polyethylene resins. Called Raprex, these new resins are formulated to provide improved physical properties without the use of chemical cross linking agents. They offer superior mechanical properties, enhanced design flexibility, reusability, recyclabilitiy and reduced cost.

According to Raprex product manager George Forczek, 'Prior to the introduction of these new resins, the preferred way to improve the physical properties of formed polymer products was to utilize chemicals which imparted a high degree of cross linking.

The problem with chemical cross linking, however, is that it ultimately limits the processability and recyclability of the resin in the conversion process.

In other words, parts in final form are not recyclable.' With Raprex resins, however, there is no need for chemical additives.

The cross linking affect is achieved prior to forming the finished parts through radiation processing of the base PE resin.

'Because the cross linking effect takes place primarily in the amorphous region of the polymer, the result is an inhomogeneous cross link distribution in the polymer,' explains Forczek.

'This results in parts that are higher in mechanical properties than their unmodified versions, plus they also are fully recyclable.' Pre-processing of the base PE resin is achieved through a controlled ionizing radiation process as well as other proprietary processes.

'It works equally well with high density, low density and linear low density polyethylene resins,' adds Forczek.

Raprex resins are available in three grades for a wide variety of applications.

Extrusion grade Raprex 100 is used for pipe, tubing, containers, and profiles; injection molding grade Raprex 200 is used for tote bins, pump housings, industrial clamps, and luggage handles; film grade Raprex 300 is used for steel pipe sleeves, greenhouse film, and timber pole sleeves.

Additional applications include bubble packaging and bag applications.

IBA Advanced Applications specializes in the application of radiation processing technologies to industrial products and materials for the purpose of improving product performance and reducing costs.

Its parent company, IBA (Ion Beam Applications), headquartered in Belgium, is an acknowledged world leader in three primary business segments: Technology Services and Equipment, Sterilization and Ionization Services, and Radioisotope Production and Distribution.

Natural flax fibre reinforces plastics car panels

Flax fibres are being re-discovered by French automotive manufacturers and used as fibre reinforcement for moulded interior plastics panels used in cars.

While textile flax produced in France is exported all over the world for the production of high-quality linen clothes and sheets, these natural fibres are now being re-discovered by French manufacturers and put to unexpected and exciting uses. Increasingly, flax is being used by automotive equipment manufacturers as a source of raw material that is environmentally friendly and less dangerous - in the event of a vehicle crashing - when used for interior panels in cars. Hemp fibres are also employed in industry to provide rigidity for plastics and in buildings as a natural insulator.

Near Yvetot, in Normandy (in North-Western France), newly-formed company Techni-Lin processes flax fibre into interior panels for car doors.

Automotive equipment manufacturers are very interested in natural fibres to make their cars environmentally friendlier and easier to recycle.

In Chemille, in the Maine-et-Loire region (in Western France), Effireal manufactures hemp wool from hemp fibres produced by farmers in the Aube region of Eastern France.

The fibres are prepared and cleaned by the Chanvriere de l'Aube co-operative company.

More and more home owners are looking for natural materials to insulate their properties and are starting to value and appreciate this new use for hemp.

Flax-polypropylene - a winning combination Textile flax is a plant widely cultivated in Northern France for the manufacture of yarn and textiles which are exported all over the world.

But not all the fibres in flax are of the same quality.

'We were looking for a new market, different from that of woven textiles or paper making, to exploit the lower quality fibre,' explains R‚mi Dubost, a farmer in Seine-Maritime and the president of flax-hackling co-operative Centrale Liniere Cauchoise.

(The word 'hackling' comes from 'hackle', referring here to the steel comb used for dressing flax.) 'We came up with the idea of introducing flax fibre into composites.' The heads of the co-operative from Yvetot had met by chance some automotive equipment manufacturers who quickly became interested in their approach, and this is how Techni-Lin came to life in 1995, in the form of a subsidiary set up by the co-operative.

'We took two years to develop our product fully,' explains Francois Asselin, manager at Techni-Lin.

'It is a composite material made from a mixture of 50% polypropylene [PP] fibre and 50% flax fibre.

The ratio of the mixture can also be 60%-40% or 70%-30%'.

This new material is manufactured in Techni-Lin's factory.

Flax units fitted in 2,000 vehicles a day - from 1996, demand gradually increased and, in July 2000, the company installed a new production line and its own thermo-pressing machine.

Today, it provides the interior door panels for the Opel Corsa and the Citroen C5 as well as the rear parcel shelf for the Renault Twingo.

In 2002, Techni-Lin processed no less than 800 metric tonnes of flax fibre and provided the interior door panels for an impressive total of 2,000 vehicles per day.

'Flax is appreciated because it is a very strong natural fibre, which prevents the panel from breaking in the event of an accident,' points out Fran‡ois Asselin.

'It also has the advantage of reducing the weight of the finished product by 20% while yielding cost benefits.' To enter this market, Techni-Lin had to meet the very rigid requirements of the automotive industry with regard to quality assurance.

Indeed, in a few months, the start-up became an approved supplier to the automotive industry (EAQF), was ISO 9002-certified, and also obtained AQP (Product Quality Assurance) quality certification.

For Francois Asselin, there is no doubt that the market can only grow.

'In Europe, there is a wealth of interest in composites made from natural fibres,' he says.

'Other industries are also interested in this type of product.

For example, a designer has just produced his first table from one of our composites.' Hemp - a natural insulator also used for making lightweight concrete Industrial hemp is also grown in France, but traditionally for the paper industry.

(It should be pointed out that industrial hemp, as distinct from Indian hemp, contains, according to French regulations, less than 0.2% THC, the psychotropic substance present in Indian hemp.) The search for more natural products in all sectors of activity was taken up by hemp producers and especially by the Chanvriere de l'Aube co-operative - a group of slightly more than 300 hemp farmers in Eastern France, who process the production from 6,000 hectares of hemp.

'We were looking for markets for our products and we investigated the possibility of manufacturing hemp-wool as an insulator for homes, as an alternative to glass-wool or rock-wool,' explains Yves B‚trencourt, the co-operative's sales manager.

'We met companies interested in this use of hemp, such as Effireal and Natilin (in Western France) and Buitex (near Lyons).

Trials quickly showed that hemp-wool exhibited the same insulating properties as glass-wool.

It even has the advantage, compared with glass-wool or rock-wool, of regulating interior humidity, which brings additional comfort in the home.' Hemp-wool does, however, have a disadvantage, in that it is quite expensive, at EUR 8 to EUR 15 per m2, or 2.5 to 4 times as much as glass-wool.

'This product appeals to those who are concerned about the environment and who are committed to using natural products in the construction of their homes,' notes Pierre Barth‚lemy of Effireal.

'Many others are interested in the idea of using natural fibres but are reluctant to pay the extra.

For hemp-wool to be used by everyone, we would need a certain amount of assistance from the government, such as tax incentives, like those for solar energy.' Fibres from ChanvriŠre de l'Aube are also used for making insulating panels and lightweight concrete.

Indeed, the co-operative is in the process of developing breeze-blocks containing hemp, and intends to file for a patent shortly.

'Today, the building sector makes up 15% of our market, but I am sure that it will represent much more in the future,' predicts Yves B‚trencourt.

'The market is still in its infancy.' Hemp reinforces superior organic plastics Hemp, like flax, is also used in the interior trim for cars.

'In this market, natural fibres have great appeal for manufacturers since they weigh only half as much as glass fibre, for which they are a substitute, and are half its price,' says the spokesperson for ChanvriŠre de l'Aube.

Similarly, the co-operative has recently turned its attention to rigid plastics.

To enter this market, it formed, with Eurochanvre (a subsidiary of cereal growers' co-operative Interval, in the Haute-Saone region), a company called Agro Fibres Technologies Plasturgie (or AFT Plasturgie).

'We are still at the research and development stage with it, but the first plastics reinforced with hemp fibre have already been tested and the first products should be available [commercially] shortly,' says AFT manager Gerard Mougin.

'The plastics manufacturing market is vast, and ranges from computer cases through to household electrical products, and includes plastic furnishings, vehicle dashboards, food crates, and moulded packaging - the possibilities are endless.' The big advantage of natural fibres, compared with glass fibre, lies in the fact that organic plastics are less abrasive, easier to mould and cut and, above all, easier to recycle than artificial (or conventional) plastics.

Fibres at work - in the Techni-Lin factory, the natural flax fibre, bleached or coloured, is mixed with polypropylene fibre.

The mixture is homogenised and stretched into a fine layer of non-woven fibres, and several dozen fibre layers interlocked by needles constitute the mat.

The mat is several millimetres thick and weighs, depending on the products, between 150 and 3000g/m2.

It is cut up and then usually sent in this form to the equipment manufacturers, who then thermo-press the finished product.

For certain models, Techni-Lin itself takes care of the compression stage of the process.

In its factory, ChanvriŠre de l'Aube separates the hemp fibres from the central stem of the plant and the seeds.

The fibres are sent to Effireal, for instance, which then takes over.

'We work the fibres to obtain a product to our requirements,' says Pierre Barthelemy at Effireal.

'We apply to them a fire-retardant treatment, then mix them with some polyester.

The fibre sheet is then heated in an oven, which causes the polyester to fuse and link the hemp fibres together.' Effireal markets the hemp-wool in the same way as glass-wool is sold, in rolls that are 10cm, 8cm, or 6cm thick.

Report underlines thermoplastic polymer innovation

In a market teeming with participants and products, thermoplastic polymer manufacturers have taken to product innovation in a big way to tap new markets and find fresh sources of revenue.

In a market teeming with participants and products, thermoplastic polymer manufacturers have taken to product innovation in a big way to tap new markets and find fresh sources of revenue. Innovative biodegradable polymers (BDPs) made of renewable raw materials and special grades of reinforced compounds are making their way into the manufacturing processes for environmentally-friendly electronic notebook housing and packaging of silicon chips, and enterprising BDP manufacturers are moving out of the confines of food packaging, agricultural film and other small-scale applications to the electronics market. These innovations and market expansions are likely to see them grow at a double-digit growth rate to generate more than $525 million by 2009.

New grades of liquid crystal polymers (LCPs) are also finding uses in the electronics market such as for production of lens holders for optical pick up parts in CD-ROM and DVD drives, creating additional streams of revenue for the $249.3 million market.

Manufacturers of cyclic olefin copolymers (COC) are exploring fresh possibilities by developing improved impact- and heat-resistant products for light-guide plates in LCDs and automobile headlamp parts.

This market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.8 per cent to finish at $59.8 million in 2009.

The $116-million polyketone (PK) market is set to witness a boom with 249 new applications being commercialised in six months by 31 March 2003 and another 1,380 projects in the pipeline.

Injection moulding is the new buzzword in the market, although film extrusion and blow moulding uses are not lagging far.

The electrical and electronics vertical has opened up exciting possibilities for PK in the manufacture of critical materials designed to transport and protect microchips and electronics.

There is also a surge in demand from energy-related applications and medical devices.

By establishing production units in new geographical markets - especially Asia - market participants are hoping to increase sales as well as capitalise on the lower labour costs.

Major multinational companies are seeking a presence in all three major world regions (Asia Pacific, North America and Europe) to expand their global marketing reach.

While established participants are making strong gains, entrants are being compelled to strike up licensing agreements with recognised suppliers to gain a toehold in these developing polymer markets.

This method is preferable to the costlier options of acquisition or development of a new business.

Brian Balmer, Industry Analyst from Frost and Sullivan, points out, 'Selecting the right company to partner with as an entrant is important to not only boost sales of products but also drive awareness.

It also helps to own an excellent and growing repertoire of versatile products.

Partnerships and alliances have helped relax the stranglehold of a few multinationals on the industry and made it easier for the smaller companies to compete.' Entry of more participants is likely to lead to greater price competition, stimulating further application development.

By constantly introducing new polymers or compounds/composite materials, the developing thermoplastic polymer market is set to thwart competition from traditional materials manufacturers.

Originality in product design and features and the superiority of performance are expected to help polymer companies distinguish themselves from competitors.

For instance, the COC market has developed disposable insulin pens that enable diabetics to deliver their own medication safely and quickly.

Such 'smart' devices not only raise the bar on innovations in drug delivery systems but are also vital product differentiating factors.

The numerous advantages of the innovative polymers over competing products notwithstanding, high costs are restricting mass uptake.

To make inroads into mass market applications, companies will have to slash prices considerably, especially since the costs of commodity plastics have fallen drastically.

'Various challenges including high costs and a crowded marketplace limit the wider acceptance of innovative polymers in large-scale applications,' notes Balmer.

'Producers are remedying the situation by continuously improving the property profile of their products, leading to greater market growth.' Title: Innovations in the Engineering Plastics Market Code: B256.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Review compares rubber and TPEs

A review covering thermoplastic elastomers that have the elastic behaviour of rubber and the processability of thermoplastics, includes comparisons between the two material types.

Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) have the elastic behaviour of rubber and the processability of thermoplastics. The Freedonia Group has forecast that demand will expand by 6.4% per year to around 2.15 million tons in 2006. There is potential for these new, exciting materials to expand into the much larger thermoset rubber markets.

This latest Rapra Review Report, Developments in Thermoplastic Elastomers, includes comparisons between the two material types.

The review covers the structure, chemistry, performance and application of TPEs for the most recent 8 year history since the previous Rapra Review Report by J.A.

Brydson was published.

There are three major types of TPE: block copolymers, rubber/plastic blends and dynamically vulcanised rubber/plastic alloys known as thermoplastic vulcanisates.

The chemistry of these materials and how their unique properties are achieved are discussed in this review.

There are many developments taking place in this field.

These are discussed in the review.

Specialist grades are being introduced for specific applications and with unique properties, such as softness or processability.

New types of styrene block copolymers have improved high temperature ageing, fluid resistance, elastic recovery and set.

New block copolyester TPEs have better blow moulding processability, softness and high dynamic flexing fatigue performance.

One of the advantages of TPEs over thermoset rubbers is that they can be processed by standard plastics processing methods.

This review considers rheology, injection moulding, extrusion, blow moulding, thermoforming and other secondary processes.

There are a variety of factors to consider when designing with TPEs, which are discussed here.

One particular advantage is in combining components of a product as TPEs can be co-injected or used in overmoulding, reducing assembly steps.

Developments in thermoplastic elastomers will be of interest to producers of TPEs, designers and manufacturers.

The review is accompanied by around 400 abstracts from papers and books in the Rapra Polymer Library database, to facilitate further reading on this subject.

A subject index and a company index are included.

The author of the review, Ken Kear, has worked as a Senior Applications Specialist with Advanced Elastomer Systems.

He has over 20 years of extensive experience in developing and working with thermoplastic elastomers.

He is a member of the Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE).

Twin screw compounder acquired for development

A leading polymer research and test house has ordered a new twin screw compounder from Rondol Technology in order to enhance its capabilities in thermoplastics compounding development.

Rapra Technology, Europe's leading polymer research and test house, has ordered a new twin screw compounder from Rondol Technology in order to enhance its capabilities in compounding and compound development. The new 21mm twin screw machine will initially be used in work to establish new nanofilled thermoplastic compound technology. Possible applications are set to include flame retarded products; biodegradable materials, and barrier membrane materials.

The Rondol compounder will also be available for compound development and client consultancy.

Business manager for Polymer Processing at Rapra Technology, Emyr Peregrine explains that 'our new Rondol machine offers an ideal combination of flexibility, output and power input.

We are very fortunate to have such supplier expertise close by - in Stone, Staffordshire - and are now looking forward to expanding our operations in the nanofiller compounding area.' A number of Rapra partner companies are already set to participate in the new nanofiller compounding work and Rapra welcomes interest from other companies.

Rapra Technology has been investing across the board; in analytical, testing and design equipment, as well as laboratory sized processing machinery.

Overall some œ400,000 in capital purchasing was released for spending at Rapra's Shawbury HQ earlier in the summer of 2003, much of this in the analytical services area.

The investment was the biggest ever made by the consultancy over the course of its 80-year history.

The new capabilities will strengthen Rapra Technology's position at the forefront of independent polymer analysis in Europe.

Rapra Technology Chief Executive Andrew Ward notes that recent investments have been enabled by the new structure of the company.

'At the time of the Management Buy Out in July 2002 we promised investment in the fundamentals.

Polymers and composites expand applications range

Innovative polymers and composites, such as long glass-fibre reinforced thermoplastics, are dramatically broadening the range of applications and commercial production of thermoplastics.

Innovative polymers and composites are dramatically broadening the range of applications and commercial production of thermoplastics. Made from both well-established and novel polymers, materials such as long glass-fibre reinforced thermoplastics, wood-plastic composites (WPC) and nanocomposites are experiencing high growth despite being relatively developmental markets. Nanocomposites are forecast to be the highest growth market, but from a rather small base.

WPCs, on the other hand, are a profit-generating market in North America although their penetration in the Europe is just beginning.

Brian Balmer, Industry Analyst from Frost and Sullivan explains, 'The high cost and lack of a mass market has restrained the uptake of these materials thus far, but the WPC market is set to take hold in Europe and Asia as a growing number of extruders emulate the U.S.

and adopt WPC in construction applications.' Since Europe lacks a decking market, WPC technology uptake will take place in a different manner in comparison with the United States.

Focus will be on specialised applications and intricate products such as window profiles, skirting boards and some furniture applications.

Thermoplastic composites are expected to replace metals and thermosets in numerous applications as they offer remarkable advantages over these traditional materials.

Durable, light, environmentally-friendly and chemically stable, composites also offer a myriad of possibilities in terms of optimising materials to suit applications.

This adds further to their attractiveness.

LFT is one of the fastest growing plastics industry sectors and automotive applications account for over 95 per cent of the worldwide demand.

In Europe, an annual growth rate of 10-12 percent was observed during the period 1999-2002.

'The automotive industry is the main driver for the European long fibre reinforced thermoplastic (LFT) market, which has been expanding faster than other LFT markets,' notes Balmer.

'New applications include under body panels, front-end modules, and door panels.' Acceptance of nanocomposites has been relatively slow despite the initial promise of 'a dream material for the 21st century.' Nevertheless, the market is expected to pick up rapidly in the near future.

While carbon nanofibres and nanotubes are currently under development, nanoclays are already finding applications in high barrier resins for food packaging and in some automotive applications.

'Ongoing R and D efforts, growing demand for conductive compounds, miniaturisation of electronics parts, improvements in processing machinery and the development of new applications will open more avenues for these materials,' adds Balmer.

Continuous product improvement and innovation hold the key to the further development of innovative composites.

As globalisation and consolidation increase, developing new markets, both in terms of new end users and geographic expansion, is crucial.

Lowering cost bases, speeding up innovation, and building expertise will help LFT suppliers to attract/retain automotive end users.

Companies also need to enhance their customer services, and technical support.

In the WPC market, participants are increasing marketing budgets to raise awareness and adhering to building industry standards to expand revenues.

Licensing, formation of strategic partnerships, and acquisition can help new companies build market share.

In the meantime, nanocomposites suppliers are focussing on developing new products through the compounding process.

Efforts are on to toughened nylon nanocomposites for injection moulding and high-viscosity nanocomposites for blow moulding.

Engineering plastics improve semiconductors

Many semiconductor manufacturers have recently raised concerns over the availability or extremely long lead times for engineering plastics, but a reeadily available material offers better performance.

Victrex continues to make strategic investments in its supply chain, technical and market support, which enable it to offer readily available high performance materials to customers anywhere in the world. These investments are particularly appealing to semiconductor fabs who are currently facing issues over the availability of other engineering plastics. This positions Victrex and the Victrex PEEK family of products as ideal solutions for end users seeking stable supplies of high quality, high performance materials.

Many fabs have recently raised concerns over the availability or extremely long lead times for engineering plastics (such as certain PPS grades) for use in CMP (chemical mechanical planarization) retaining rings.

Victrex PEEK offers proven superior performance in these applications.

Victrex currently supplies Victrex PEEK polymer to a range of wafer fabrication facilities across the world, including facilities in Europe, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, through a network of fabricators.

'We've been using Victrex PEEK polymer for the rings for a number of years and our customers are very pleased with the results,' said Bill Kalenian, engineering project manager at Strasbaugh.

'Victrex PEEK polymer is widely acknowledged as one of the premier high-performance thermoplastic materials for CMP rings because of its unique range of properties including inherent purity, strength, chemical resistance, and wear resistance.

Because Victrex PEEK polymer can be machined to extremely tight tolerances and is compatible with process components such as slurries, it has proven ideal for CMP rings, affording more wafer passes during fabrication - resulting in lower downtime and lower cost per wafer.' Strasbaugh purchases the Victrex PEEK polymer blanks from CDI Seals in Humble, Texas, USA.

* test results Revealed - 'One of the key drivers in this area is developing better, longer-wearing CMP rings to match the advancing performance of other critical CMP equipment consumables that complement the CMP head,' said John Walling, Victrex Americas semiconductor manager.

'Materials used in CMP rings in the past have included PPS, but wear tests reveal that CMP rings made from Victrex PEEK polymer have a useful lifetime of up to 2.5 times when compared to PPS.

At Victrex, we are strongly aware of the need for compatible long-life parts and are continuing to develop our materials in line with these technology advances.' Walling continued: 'In the semiconductor sector and in particular CMP retaining rings, our high performance polyaryletherketone material is often the difference between process success and failure.' He said: 'We have customers in the United States and Asia that have switched from PPS to Victrex PEEK polymer because of our application expertise and the product high performance.

Victrex PEEK polymer-based CMP rings enable more wafer passes during fabrication, resulting in lower downtime, and lower cost per wafer.' * Victrex's supply chain strategy - 'The importance of the security of supply in the semiconductor sector cannot be underestimated,' said Blair Souder, commercial director at Victrex.

'It's essential that semiconductor fabs have the material they need when they need it.

Wafer fabs are 24x7 facilities that need a constant supply of high quality, batch-consistent materials.

If a material is unavailable, the cost of delays is immeasurable.

It's not only that the wafer is delayed, but the subsequent effect in the consumer market as the end-product release date is pushed back is often critical.' Assurance of supply and investing ahead of demand has always been part of Victrex's business strategy.

The company is self-sufficient in the manufacture and supply of both Victrex PEEK polymer and its key monomers.

Victrex has made significant investments in two key components of its supply chain.

First, Victrex has backward integrated its raw material supply chain to better control quality and availability for its polymerization facilities.

This was achieved primarily by acquiring, and subsequently upgrading, these facilities.

Second, the company has continually added capacity ahead of demand to ensure a continual supply to customers.

The most recent investment is another Victrex PEEK polymer plant, currently under construction, which will bring the company's total capacity to more than 4,200 tons.

These investments allow Victrex to better control supply, costs, and quality, and ensure availability to customers.

MS screener provides equal feed distribution

Rotex Europe has announced the installation of the first MS Screener in Europe.

Rotex Europe has announced the installation of the first MS Screener in Europe. Sold and installed in The Netherlands to a very important company (which prefers to keep its anonymity) in the Agro Processing field, the MS Screener is the perfect solution to all screening requirements at high temperatures and large volumes. The MS Screener provides unsurpassed screening performance when exact separations and high efficiencies are required, and maximises product recoveries at material temperatures up to 200andordm; C.

Specifically designed to screen fine products at high capacity, the MS Screener provides excellent screening performance due to equal feed distribution to all screen decks, uniform bed-depth across the entire screen surface and a reduction in screen blinding, due to the use of durable declogging balls.

The stacked, multiple-deck, tray access design allows for individual screen access without the need to remove all decks.

A patented Lift- Rail system enables easy installation and removal of the screen frame.

Access and maintenance are simple with single decks being able to be changed in ten minutes - with all 12 decks changed in just two hours.

The screen deck is sloped to an angle of six degrees, which maximises screen efficiency and meets demanding product specifications.

An easily accessible external drive cartridge allows continuous operation at temperatures up to 200C and is designed for 200,000 hours of service.

The MS Screener utilises a support shaft suspension system with industrial U- joint bearings and no maintenance, low torsion centre springs.

An optional floor-mounted suspension stand is available for installations without overhead support.

Abrasion-resistant steel construction and 'rockbox' landing areas allow for repeated impact on high-wear surfaces.

The MS Screener incorporates a new silicone seal system that press fits into place without adhesives.

The seal is universal throughout the machine providing exceptional sealing between screen decks on fine separations.

A unique sleeveless brush system on the discharge doors eliminates traditional connecting sleeves for quicker screen deck access.

Integral vent connections enable enhanced dust control on dustier materials.

This newly designed product demonstrates that the food industry remains a key market sector for ROTEX EUROPE, in addition to mineral, chemical and plastic applications.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Rapid prototyping service for membrane switches

Danielson has launched a new rapid prototyping service for use with all membrane switch and keyboard projects.

Danielson, one of Europe's leading developers and manufacturers of membrane keyboards, touch screens and electroluminescent lamps, has launched a new rapid prototyping service for use with all membrane switch and keyboard projects. Intended to help customers reduce product design and development times still further, the new service forms the latest part of an ongoing programme of investment in the company's UK production facilities. Ben Phelan, Marketing Manager for Danielson, explains that, 'Although we have always been able to produce keyboard prototypes relatively quickly, the new membrane prototyping service means that, for many projects, we will be able to produce working samples for customers within days; this is significantly better than the average for this part of the electronics industry, which is typically weeks rather than days'.

He adds, 'Perhaps as importantly, the ability to produce flat and embossed overlays and composite keyboard assemblies, and to incorporate complex, digitally printed half tone graphics, quickly and efficiently means that we can help customers design and, where appropriate, redesign products from concept stages through to final high and low volume production.

As a result, we believe that we will be able to improve the functionality, performance and reliability of the finished products, without adversely affecting the overall cost'.

This significant reduction in turn-round times has been achieved through the use of the latest computer aided production technology, combined with streamlined and carefully monitored production control processes.

For example, Danielson has extensive CAD resources, automatic 200W large area laser cutting systems, multiple high speed screen print lines and in-house embossing facilities; additionally, as part of a larger European group, the company has access to additional production operations in Sweden, Holland and Hungary.

Copolymer opaque resins are injection mouldable

Weatherable copolymer resin line includes two new opaque grades specifically designed for injection molding and provide provide outstanding impact strength, good stiffness at light weight.

GE Advanced Materials, a division of General Electric Company has expanded its Lexan SLX weatherable copolymer resin line with two new opaque grades specifically designed for injection molding. The new materials - Lexan SLX EXRL0124 and Lexan SLX EXRL0125 resins - were developed to address environmental issues and costs associated with painting plastic parts in applications that require long-term retention of color and gloss in demanding outdoor use. Polycarbonate (PC) provides outstanding impact strength, good stiffness at light weight, the ability to maintain mechanicals over a broad temperature range, high gloss, excellent tintability and paintability, option for water-clear transparency, and excellent moldability.

In challenging outdoor applications, however, scientists have traditionally needed to use UV additives to help stabilize the polymer, and tints, pigments, or paint to mask color shift.

Hardcoat technology has been employed to improve scratch and chemical resistance, and alloying and blending has been used to expand the chemical resistance for uncoated PC components.

Lexan SLX resin effectively improves the weatherability of polycarbonate.

The new material is a copolymer technology that has been derived from polyester carbonates and resorcinol arylates.

When exposed to UV light, the new copolymer undergoes a photo-fries rearrangement and produces a new structure that is inherently a UV screener, essentially making the resin self-protecting.

The Lexan SLX resin technology was initially deployed by GE Advanced Materials in a high-gloss film for use with in-mold decorated parts for the automotive industry.

Comprised of a clear cap layer over a colored layer (flat or metallic), the film maintains dimensional stability over a broad temperature range and can be back-molded onto a variety of substrates to create a Class A surface.

This technology provides excellent weathering, outstanding chemical and scratch resistance, plus excellent gloss and depth of image (DOI), which are all necessary to meet the automotive industry's demanding aesthetic requirements.

Lexan SLX film is now available from GE Advanced Materials in multiple gauges.

In June 2003, GE introduced the first, injection-molding grades of this copolymer, which are transparent and, in laboratory testing, demonstrate excellent weathering (seven+ years), high light transmission (>83%), and low haze (<1%), with performance and processing much like standard polycarbonate materials.

Depending on weathering conditions, the new materials offer five-to-10 times better gloss, color, and light transmission retention than standard UV-stabilized polycarbonate.

After a slight initial color shift, the transparent grades of Lexan SLX resin offer a longer lifetime of UV stability and clarity vs.

traditional UV-stabilized polycarbonate.

This makes the transparent grades of Lexan SLX resin an ideal candidate for lighting applications, including covers, refractors, and lenses.

With today's announcement, GE Advanced Materials has expanded the Lexan SLX resin technology still further with two new opaque grades that are high gloss and can be pre-colored in a range of hues for paint-replacement in injection-molded parts.

Unlike many self-colored, weatherable polymers and alloys, the new Lexan resin grades offer higher chemical, thermal, scratch, and weathering resistance.

Post-weathered ductility is high, while most other physical, mechanical, processing, and shrinkage properties are very similar to standard PC grades.

The new Lexan SLX materials are being positioned for use in components for sporting goods, automobiles, recreational vehicles, agricultural equipment, and telecommunications enclosures.

'When exposed to UV light over time,' says Kurt Schuering, global Lexan product manager, GE Advanced Materials, 'traditional weatherable polymers can lose gloss, where this exceptionally tough copolymer technology can withstand the rigors of long-term outdoor use virtually unscathed.

Key to this is the product's unique ability to actually become a UV absorber, potentially extending the service life of the part by protecting both surface appearance and physical properties.

Due to their outstanding performance, gloss retention, and color stability, these new grades potentially hold the answer to the many challenges that outdoor equipment manufacturers in several areas have had to deal with for a long time,' Schuering said.

Some of the first commercial applications for the new opaque grades of Lexan SLX resin include industrial backhoe fenders and the housing for a wireless infrastructure product from NexGen City.

In both cases, the material was selected after testing revealed it met customer requirements for chemical resistance, weatherability, thermal stability (-40 to 77degC), impact resistance, processability, and knit-line/flow characteristics.

In the case of the backhoe fenders, Lexan SLX resin offered better design flexibility, weatherability, and ductility than painted dicylopentadiene (DCPD).

For the NexGen City communications housing, the material replaces painted steel at lower weight and better design flexibility.

No other thermoplastic tested by the customer passed the long-term impact and gloss retention requirements.

According to Dave Meitzen, NexGen City, chief operating engineer, 'We're very pleased to be using GE's Lexan SLX resin for NexGen City's wireless infrastructure product, which we are currently deploying in a 60-square-mile area around Garland, Texas.

Once complete, this system will serve as the wireless backbone for the city's first-responder - fire, EMT, and police - emergency personnel.

This is a proven, leading-edge technology and a huge homeland security application for us, and Lexan SLX resin helped play a major role in its development,' Meitzen said.

Thermoformable composite replaces steel in bonnet

A major UK automotive molder will be replacing the steel with a low-pressure thermoformable composite in the bonnet/hood of a high-powered sports vehicle.

As the result of a joint development, GE Advanced Materials' Azdel Superlite composite will be used by BI Composites, a major UK automotive molder, to replace the steel in the bonnet/hood of a high-powered sports vehicle to be launched by a leading international carmaker in early 2004. The bonnet development was driven by the need to provide a cost-effective material solution that could be applied to low-volume production, niche segment vehicles. Key application criteria included recyclability, impact strength, low weight combined with high stiffness, the ability to bond with steel, extremely low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), and the ability to obtain a Class A finish with strong paint adhesion.

BI Composites tested a range of high-temperature engineering thermoplastics before selecting Azdel Superlite composite as the material that offered the optimum balance of properties and met the cost-reduction target.

While initial series production using Azdel Superlite composite indicated a premium over that for a steel bonnet skin, the tooling cost for a steel skin solution could only be justified by amortization over high-volume production.

In contrast, tooling for Azdel Superlite composite is a substantially lower investment because of the material's low-pressure formability.

With a EUR 70,000 (approx.

$88,000 USD) tool, meeting a production level of 15,000 units per year, and the process being developed to achieve 150,000 units from a single tool, unit cost represents a 50 percent savings over low-volume steel production and a 75 percent savings over comparable thermoset composites.

This illustrates the competitiveness of Azdel Superlite composite and the low-pressure forming process for vehicle production volumes of between 500 to 50,000 units, whereas steel shows savings after 100,000 units.

'This development also achieved a very considerable weight savings,' says Mike Birrell, business development director for BI Composites.

'With an optimized skin thickness of two millimeters, Azdel Superlite composite gave greater stiffness than the steel it replaced at 50 percent lower weight.

As part of our benchmarking process we also produced a bonnet skin in a carbon fiber/epoxy composite, however, it weighed as much as steel in this application.' The performance of Azdel Superlite composite bonnets was independently measured.

In high-speed, offset front-impact tests, the bonnets exhibited less damage than that sustained by similar steel panels tested under the same procedure.

Moreover, the bonnets' adhesive bonding remained intact throughout impact testing.

As well as delivering high impact strength, the continuous unidirectional glass fiber reinforcement of Azdel Superlite composite, and its thermal stability, enable a Class A paint finish.

The material's surface is flame treated and prepared with a standard polypropylene primer before painting with a finishing coat.

'With Azdel Superlite composite, we are offering the outstanding combination of light weight, high impact strength, and thermal stability properties,' says Gordon King, commercial director of Azdel, Europe.

'We expect Azdel Superlite composite to benefit OEMs in the automotive industry for specific applications - from interior to bonnet - where, previously, composites would not have been considered.' GE Advanced Materials' Azdel Superlite composite is a low-pressure, thermoformable composite developed specifically for automotive applications.

composite is based on short, chopped-fiber reinforcement, with a glass content of 42 to 55 percent and a weight of 600 to 2,000 grams per square meter.

The material can be compression molded in less than one minute at very low pressures of 0.5 to 5 bars.

This ratio of fibers to polymers, as well as the base weight of the web, can be customized for different interior and exterior automotive applications.

Characterized by light weight, a high stiffness-to-weight ratio, good dimensional stability, and high impact resistance over a wide temperature range, Azdel Superlite composite allows engineers to design high-performance components that can replace steel, meet aesthetic demands, and contribute to vehicle weight reduction.

Azdel Superlite composite's good polypropylene/fiber bond enables it to be recycled into other engineering applications at the end of its first-life use.

BI Composites, a leading producer of molded components for executive and luxury cars, is a business of the UK-based BI Group Plc, an international group of specialist engineering companies.

The company has annual worldwide sales of approximately ?

200 million (approx.

$364 million USD) and employs more than 2,000 people in 14 countries.

Azdel Superlite composite is produced and distributed by Azdel, a joint venture of GE Advanced Materials and PPG.

The Azdel business was established in 1972 by PPG Industries, and a 50/50 joint venture was set up with GE in 1986.

Low-pressure, thermoformable composite cuts weight

Low-pressure, thermoformable composite of a polypropylene resin matrix and chopped-fibre reinforcement reduces weight and enhances performance in automotive interiors.

Already achieving successes in automotive interior programs, which include headliner, sunshade, and parcel shelf applications in the U.S., Australia, and China, Azdel Superlite composite is now being trialed by automotive OEMs in Europe. Azdel Superlite composite is a low-pressure, thermoformable composite of a polypropylene resin matrix and chopped-fiber reinforcement. Developed specifically for automotive interior applications, the material offers light weight, a high stiffness-to-weight ratio, good dimensional stability, and high impact resistance over a wide temperature range.

This combination of properties enables engineers to design components for vehicle weight reduction without compromising part performance or aesthetics.

As well as achieving weight savings of up to 50 percent in some components, Azdel Superlite composite also delivers production advantages.

In headliners - the first application in which Azdel Superlite composite was used - this versatile sheet can be molded directly in one step together with surface textile and special functional layers, thereby eliminating the several production steps required with traditional materials.

Because of the product's high stiffness-to-weight ratio, headliners can be constructed with ultra-thin profiles, down to three millimeters thick, half the thickness of conventional systems.

'The combination of wide versatility and performance properties can make Azdel Superlite composite an excellent material for pre-assembled modular headliners,' says Gordon King, commercial director, Azdel, Europe.

'It allows the entire system to be mounted to a vehicle as a single assembly.

Its light weight and low-pressure formability, often using existing tooling, means that Azdel Superlite composite has the potential to reduce system costs by up to 20 percent.' To meet growing OEM demand for Azdel Superlite composite, Azdel,is expanding its U.S.-based global supply facility in Lynchburg, Va.

The introduction of a third Azdel Superlite composite line will add 7,000 tons to the company's current annual capacity, totaling more than 25,000 tons when it comes on-stream this quarter.

According to James Forden, president, Azdel: 'This investment reflects the strong interest in Azdel Superlite composite by the automotive industry and the global translatability of the application programs it's supporting.

This step-increase in capacity will help further ensure product supply, as well as confirm our ongoing commitment to serve this sector.' With its low-weight advantages, ultra-thin profile, and high stiffness-to-weight ratio, Azdel Superlite composite can be formed with varying thickness and stiffness.

Moreover, it allows manufacturers to use slightly modified existing tooling, helping to prevent creasing during the installation process.

Furthermore, with better moisture resistance and lower emissions than traditional materials, Azdel Superlite composite can be an ideal candidate for interior applications.

The composite was recently chosen by Lear Corp.

for the automotive interior integration program for the Ford GT performance vehicle.

Azdel Superlite composite was specified for the headliner, bulkhead cover, door panels, pillar trims, center console, and instrument panel.

The material met all key criteria and demonstrated its cost efficiency in high-end, low-volume models.

It also helped save an estimated 30 percent more weight per vehicle than conventional injection-molded substrates.

Currently in limited production, the Ford GT performance vehicle is scheduled to go into regular production in spring 2004.

In Europe, modular headliners, rear parcel shelves, door trim panels, underbody shields, and instrument panels made from Azdel Superlite composite are currently under development in cooperation with tier 1 automotive suppliers.

These include a novel instrument panel concept featuring a new NIS seamless airbag system that exploits the high integration opportunities offered by the product (which avoids adding extra parts or materials to the passenger airbag area).

The high load-bearing strength-to-stiffness ratio of Azdel Superlite composite is also opening the way for its integration into new rear parcel shelf concepts now being explored by the industry.

The GE Advanced Materials' Automotive Application Development Center in Southfield, Mich., U.S., and its European Design Center in Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands, provide the world's leading automotive manufacturers and tier suppliers with extensive technical support.

Expert staff assist with concept generation, complete pre-production consultancy, application and performance prediction, processing simulation, feasibility and cost studies, advanced processing capabilities, system solutions, and innovative automotive expertise.

Moreover, GE Advanced Materials' affiliates, Polymer Solutions in the United States and GE Polymer Design Associates in Europe, can assist customers with a complete set of design and engineering services, or with finding an optimal solution to a specific task.

This support covers the full range of automotive disciplines - styling, engineering design, CAD, finite element analysis, model and prototyping, tooling, testing, and project management.

Azdel Superlite composite is produced and distributed by Azdel, a joint venture of GE Advanced Materials and PPG Industries.

The Azdel business was established in 1972 by PPG Industries, and a 50/50 joint venture was set up with GE in 1986.

Azdel Superlite composite customers are provided with support in design, testing, molding, and prototyping to achieve excellent performance and weight reduction in automotive applications (

About GE Advanced Materials - GE Advanced Materials is a world leader in providing materials solutions through engineering thermoplastics, silicon-based products and technology platforms, and fused quartz and ceramics.

Headquartered in Pittsfield, Mass., GE Advanced Materials is the combined entity of GE's former Plastics, Silicones, and Quartz businesses.

Its offerings include: • Silanes, specialty silicones, urethane additives, adhesives, sealants, caulks, resins, and elastomers for a variety of vertical markets such as personal care, automotive, tire and rubber, construction, healthcare, electronics, household and institutional, agriculture, textiles, appliances, bedding and furnishings, and foam control, as well as the consumer 'do-it-yourself' market

Reinforced polyamide chosen for good weldability

Good welding characteristics, low warpage and excellent flow characteristics were decisive factors in choosing reinforced polyamide for diesel engine oil separators.

System supplier Bosch Waiblingen Kunststofftechnik, in collaboration with Rhodia Engineering Plastics' Application Development Centre Automotive in Freiburg, has developed housings and other elements manufactured using Technyl reinforced polyamide for two new oil separator concepts for diesel engines. DaimlerChrysler is currently considering using the stand-alone solution of this oil separator with three hose connections for its A-Class diesel models. Series production for other diesel applications, using a cassette version fitted to the aluminium rocker cover, will start in the near future.

The material which will be used for both models is Technyl A 218 MT15 V25, a heat stabilised, glass and mineral reinforced polyamide 66.

It has been selected because it meets the stringent demands placed on its mechanical properties, durability and processing.

In the environmentally-friendly closed crankcase ventilation system, when the engine is running, the blow-by gas finds its way from the combustion chambers into the crankcase.

It then flows through the oil separator.

The gas is an aggressive combination of air, fuel remnants such as water vapour, soot and other combustion by-products, as well as oil mist and oil droplets.

The separator splits out almost all the oil and other fluid particles which are reintroduced into the oil system, while the remaining gas is fed back into the air intake.

The oil separator housing, the coil for the centrifugal oil separator for the larger drops and the support for the fleece which absorbs the fine oil mist, are all made from Technyl A 218 MT15 V25.

The support for the pressure control valve membrane is made of fluorine silicon-coated polyamide.

'We believe that this new type of oil separator will open up a wide range of new market opportunities.

The concept is a real step forward and we feel confident it will be the forerunner of a whole new generation of oil separators', said Eric Noyrez, Director Automotive Business, Rhodia Engineering Plastics.

The combination of glass and mineral particles in this Technyl grade precisely provides the demanding mix of properties required in this application, as well as meeting the demand of high production efficiency.

The hostile environment in which the oil separators are used means that they need to have outstanding rigidity and dimensional stability, high creep resistance and be able to withstand temperatures from -35degC to 130degC.

They also have to resist ageing when exposed to an aggressive mixture of lubricating oil, fuel, water and acids, and external factors such as road salt.

Good welding characteristics, low warpage (which simplifies machine tool construction) and Technyl's excellent flow characteristics were decisive factors in Bosch's decision to use the material.

According to Axel Zschau, Leader Application Development Centre Automotive at Rhodia Engineering Plastics, 'This new development is a result of a high level of co-operation between our two companies.

The challenge was to find a way to combine different oil separation systems in the small space available.

We managed to achieve the maximum system efficiency we were both looking for.

This project is one example of the way in which we work with our customers to help them to develop solutions that, as in this case, are often revolutionary.' Rhodia Engineering Plastics assisted Bosch during the material selection and its optimisation of the manufacturing process.

Rhodia offers its customers a wide range of support services during the commercialisation of their projects, such as flow simulation and finite element simulations, as well as a variety of laboratory tests like ageing, burst pressure and leakage tests.

Rhodia Engineering Plastics, headquartered in Lyon, France, is the worldwide specialist in polyamide engineering thermoplastic materials.

The company has a sales network that spans the world, with manufacturing plants and technical development centres in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.

Rhodia is one of the world's leading manufacturers of speciality chemicals.

Providing a wide range of innovative products and services to the consumer care, food, industrial care, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, automotive, electronics and fibres markets, Rhodia offers its customers tailor-made solutions based on the cross-fertilisation of technologies, people and expertise.

Rhodia subscribes to the principles of Sustainable Development communicating its commitments and performance openly with stakeholders.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Website gives faster access to technical support

Rhodia Engineering Plastics recently launched a new web site built in strict accordance with customer needs ( to provide faster access to professional technical support.

Demonstrating its role as a global leader in the polyamide world, Rhodia Engineering Plastics recently launched a new web site built in strict accordance with customer needs ( to provide faster access to business information and faster access to professional technical support for the entire product portfolio of Rhodia Engineering Plastics. The web site is really a comfortable and efficient working tool thanks to its new design, ease of navigation and categorized information to enhance searches. Categories of Information: * Material Selector: By a simple click, the material selector gives access to markets, brand, polymer type, processing, charge or product name selection and a web page with a first level of product information is visible.

Technical Datasheets and Safety Datasheets are presented and downloadable after registering on the web site.

* Material Selector Advanced: The advanced part of the material selector allows selecting products using multiple values/ranges that the material type must fulfil.

A link is then proposed to save datasheets of interest in 'my library'*.

* About us: This section provides complete information about the worldwide Rhodia Engineering Plastics organization, including sales and distribution channels.

* Markets: The market pages present major segments and applications where Rhodia Engineering Plastics' products have been used successfully.

* Products: The new Rhodia Engineering Plastics web site is providing all needed technical data about Rhodia brands Technyl, Technyl Star, Technyl Alloy.

* Innovation: New products, new applications and new technologies are demonstrated and illustrated to keep customers informed about new possibilities on a regular basis.

* Customer Technical Services: Rhodia provides information and expertise on technical areas such as Computer Aided Engineering; Parts Testing - Processing guides are also available and updated on a regular basis.

This service is enhanced by the possibility to download brochures.

* Sustainable Development: Information about Rhodia's commitments to Sustainable Development including Rhodia Engineering Plastics' health, safety and environmental policies and recycling engagement.

* News: A quick access to the latest press releases concerning Rhodia Engineering Plastics and Rhodia Group has been created.

This section also presents events (conferences and meetings) where Rhodia is demonstrating and exhibiting engineering plastic products.

* E-services - *'SSOL' is the Rhodia e-business platform.

SSOL enables a customer to place and follow orders online, in a totally secured environment, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! * 'My Library' offers the possibility to store in one place direct links to technical documents of choice.

* 'Contact Center' provides ease in presenting questions directly to the best support resource according to specific location and market of interest.

' is an effective platform and the most advanced e-tool available today for engineering plastic consumers.

This web site is another example of Rhodia's dedication to providing the best of services to engineering plastics professionals throughout the world' said Dr Pierre Luzeau, Director for Europe.

Rhodia Engineering Plastics, headquartered in Lyon, France, is the world wide specialist in polyamide engineering thermoplastic materials.

The company has a sales network that spans the world, with manufacturing plants and technical development centres in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.

Rhodia is one of the world's leading manufacturers of specialty chemicals.

Providing a wide range of innovative products and services to the consumer care, food, industrial care, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, automotive, electronics and fibers markets, Rhodia offers its customers tailor-made solutions based on the cross-fertilization of technologies, people and expertise.

Rhodia subscribes to the principles of Sustainable Development communicating its commitments and performance openly with stakeholders.