Sunday, October 31, 2010

FKuR Introduces Bioplastics for Film & Injection Molding Applications at K2010

Coinciding with the K 2010, bioplastics manufacturer FKuR Kunststoff GmbH has extended its product range to include more innovative products. The company is presenting them at the show in hall 6, booth B66.

Shrink film applications:

Predominantly based on renewable resources, Bio-Flex® F 4110 can be processed into film on conventional LDPE extruders. The properties required for shrink films can be adjusted by using this grade in combination with other Bio-Flex® F types in a multilayer structure. "Due to the innovative combination of raw materials and multilayer structures, films made from this material show excellent shrink qualities and tightening strength," says Patrick Zimmermann, Director - Sales and Marketing, KKuR. Bio-Flex® F 4110 is a compostable raw material corresponding to EN 13432 with a renewable resource content greater than 60%.

Thermoforming and injection molding needs:

Based on PLA and PBS, Bio-Flex® S 5630 is a compound with a high renewable resource content. The bio raw materials used in this compound are 100% biodegradable. Bio-Flex® S 5630 excels due to the careful balance of elasticity and stiffness. Moreover, products made from Bio-Flex® S5630 feature a high quality and pleasant feel. "Besides the high quality surface finish, considering it is a PLA compound, this material offers an excellent heat distortion temperature of 105°C measured to Vicat A," says Carmen Michels, Director - Technology and Production, FKuR. This grade is particularly suitable for cast film extrusion and subsequent thermoforming, as well as for injection molding and extrusion blow molding.
These compounds, developed in cooperation with Fraunhofer UMSICHT, extend FKuR Kunstoff GmbH's sustainable product portfolio. "With these novel resins we are extending our range of products consistently for use in film applications and for high flow injection moldable materials," explains Edmund Dolfen, MD, FKuR Kunststoff GmbH.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Toho Tenax begins operation of fourth carbon fiber production line in Germany

Toho Tenax Co., Ltd., the core company of the Teijin Group’s carbon fibers business, announced that its German subsidiary, Toho Tenax Europe GmbH (TTE), began full-fledged operation of its fourth carbon fiber production line (Line 4) at the Oberbruch plant this month, after first starting up the line in September.

The 1,700-ton-capacity Line 4 was completed in August 2009, but as a result of
declining demand for carbon fiber due to the economic downturn since the fall of 2008,
the line’s originally scheduled startup was postponed as part of adjustments to the
Toho Tenax group’s global production in Japan, Germany and the United States.
With demand increasing this year, particularly for aircraft, sports, leisure and industrial
applications such as wind power generation, Toho Tenax decided to begin operating the
new line to optimize global production.

Toho Tenax expects the carbon fiber sales, which had decreased to about 23,000 tons
in 2009, to increase about 15% annually from this year. Looking ahead, Toho Tenax
intends to further optimize production in Japan, Germany and the United States to meet
growing demand.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

First facility making fire-safe, filament-wound composite concrete pole opens in Australia


The world’s first full scale production facility making breakthrough composite power distribution poles has opened by Dulhunty Power Ltd., in Australia. The composite poles are the first to provide strength, durability and fire resistance by combining the three technologies of filament-winding, high-performance concrete and alkali-resistant (AR) glass reinforcements.

Developed by CMT Worldwide and Langdale Industries, the Eco-Titan™ composite pole is made with lightweight concrete, Owens Corning Cem FIL® AR glass fibers and a vertical winding process that maximizes the performance of the raw materials and includes no metal. The result is:
• Glass fiber reinforcement percentage by weight of 15 percent, which is three times the 5 percent typically achieved in a glass reinforced concrete application
• Total weight that is less than half the weight of a comparable wooden pole while achieving break and deflection test results that are well within current standards
• Non-flammable and impervious to the ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunshine
• Non-corrosive, nonconductive and no electromagnetic interference

A study comparing the carbon footprint of the composite concrete pole with other poles typically used found the composite concrete pole to have the smallest carbon footprint of any of the manufactured poles. It was second only to treated wood at the 50-year expected lifespan of the wooden pole. At the projected 70-year lifespan for the composite concrete pole, the carbon footprint of the composite pole was clearly superior.

According to CMT Worldwide, the global distribution pole market is moving to engineered products for safety, cost and ease of use. The share of market for alternative materials is now approaching 40 percent and expected to continue growing rapidly in the next five to 10 years.

“Eco-Titan™ composite poles are the first truly new product for the power distribution market in 15 years,” says Allen Sells, president of CMT Worldwide. “Our combination of materials and process technology results in an incredibly strong high-performance pole with excellent strength-to-weight qualities and the lowest carbon footprint of any manufactured pole product.”

Owens Corning supported development of the composite concrete pole with technology for the reinforcements and fabrics. The company’s Cem-FIL® AR glass reinforcements provide strength and durability in a wide variety of cement- and mortar-based composite applications including new and restored building facades, industrial flooring and tunnel lining.

“Glass fiber-reinforced concrete poles combine the benefits of composites and concrete,” said Benoît Lorre, business development leader, Cem-FIL® glass fibers. “The result is a strong, lightweight and fire-safe pole that gives the market another way to move to composites and away from wood.”

Dulhunty Power was the first licensee outside North America. Poles from the company’s plant in Moolap, Victoria provide a needed option for utilities facing the threat of bushfire events each summer. Huge fires in the state of Victoria in February 2009 burned poles and downed power lines.

Fire testing was carried out earlier this year at Western Fire Center, Inc., in Kelso, Wash., USA. The two step process subjected poles to accelerated weathering and direct flame. The test report from Western Fire said the composite concrete poles demonstrated performance they deem “Excellent.”

The Eco-Titan™ composite pole was a finalist in the JEC Innovation Awards program for 2010 and was displayed at the JEC show in Paris in April. The technology is now being licensed globally. For more information, visit www.titanpoles.net.

Toyota Does its Bit for the Environment by Using Bio-PET in Vehicle Interiors

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has announced it plans to make vehicle liner material and other interior surfaces from a new "Ecological Plastic" 1 that features the world's first use of bio-PET2. Starting with the luggage-compartment liner in the Lexus "CT200h" due at the beginning of 2011, TMC plans to increase both the number of vehicle series featuring the new material, as well as the amount of vehicle-interior area covered by it, and intends to introduce a vehicle model in 2011 in which Ecological Plastic will cover 80 percent of the vehicle interior.
The epoch-making bio-PET-based Ecological Plastic -- developed with Toyota Tsusho Corporation -- is characterized by:
  1. Enhanced performance (heat-resistance, durability performance, shrink resistance) compared to conventional bio-plastics and performance parity with petroleum-based PET,
  2. The potential to approach the cost-per-part performance of petroleum-based plastics through volume production, and
  3. Usability in seats and carpeting and other interior components that require a high level of performance unattainable by hitherto Ecological Plastic.
Ecological Plastic has the benefit of being more carbon neutral than conventional petroleum-based plastics, meaning it can lessen product-life-cycle CO2 emissions; use of it can contribute to a reduction in the use of limited petroleum resources. TMC has been engaged in applying Ecological Plastics to automobiles since 2000, and, in May 2003, became the first in the world to use in a mass-production vehicle a bio-plastic made from polyactic acid, which was introduced in the spare tire cover and floor mats of the Japanese-market "Raum" small car. TMC has since expanded its use of Ecological Plastic, achieving the world's highest level3 of use of bio-plastics in a vehicle by using it to cover 60 percent of the exposed surfaces of interior parts in the "Sai" hybrid sedan launched in December 2009.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Advanced Vertebral Solutions' Spinal Implant Made of Solvay's Zeniva® PEEK Receives FDA Clearance


Advanced Vertebral Solutions (AVS), a supplier of minimally invasive spinal implants and delivery systems, has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for its new Steerable TLIF spinal fusion implant made of Zeniva® polyetheretherketone (PEEK) resin from Solvay Advanced Polymers, LLC. Zeniva® PEEK - part of Solvay's Solviva® line of biomaterials - has a modulus very close to that of bone plus excellent toughness and fatigue resistance.
The EXPRESS IBFD™ TLIF implant, made from 30- and 40-mm-diameter Zeniva® PEEK rod stock, is an implant for interbody fusion of the anterior column of the spine. These implants are hollow so that bone can grow through the device, fusing the adjacent bony surfaces of the vertebrae. AVS has developed a unique "active steering" technology that minimizes instrument exchanges and simplifies the minimally invasive surgical technique, thereby enabling its rapid adoption among spine surgeons.

"Zeniva® PEEK provides the exceptional properties that are required of a high-precision implant in this critical application." said Mike Dugery, President of Advanced Vertebral Solutions.

Zeniva® PEEK is a comparable or better-performing alternative to metals such as titanium for these intervertebral implantable devices. The material offers many important benefits including biocompatibility, chemical inertness, and a modulus of elasticity that is close to that of bone. Based on biocompatibility testing, Zeniva® PEEK demonstrates no evidence of cytotoxicity, sensitization, irritation, or acute systemic toxicity. It also boasts high strength and stiffness and has radiolucent properties which permit x-ray procedures. Advanced Vertebral Solutions uses Zeniva® PEEK rod stock and performs high-precision machining to produce a full range of sizes and configurations.

"We're excited about the commercial adoption of Zeniva® PEEK for this unique spinal fusion implant," said Shawn Shorrock, Global Healthcare Market Manager for Solvay Advanced Polymers. "We've made significant investments and performed all applicable required testing to ensure that our Zeniva® PEEK meets or exceeds the critical regulatory performance standards set by the FDA for this application."

Zeniva® PEEK and the entire line of Solviva® Biomaterials are manufactured in compliance with the relevant aspects of ISO 13485 and under the relevant aspects of current Good Manufacturing Practices. Solvay's biomaterial manufacturing processes are carefully validated and enhanced controls provide product traceability. In addition, all materials are tested in an accredited lab that is ISO 17025 compliant.

Solvay is currently in active product trials with several medical device manufacturers, not only with Zeniva® PEEK, but using the broad range of Solviva® Biomaterials.

In addition to Zeniva® PEEK, Solvay's Solviva® Biomaterials line includes Proniva® self-reinforced polyphenylene (SRP); Veriva® polyphenylsulfone (PPSU); and Eviva® polysulfone (PSU). These sterilizable products are available in resin for injection molding or extrusion.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The British Plastics Federation Supports EFSA's Re-Confirmation on the Safety of BPA

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has welcomed the European Food Standards Agency's (EFSA) confirmation of the safety of Bisphenol A.

The EFSA research, spearheaded by the European Commission, based on 'a detailed and comprehensive review of recent scientific literature and studies on the toxicity of bisphenol A at low doses' concludes that 'they could not identify any new evidence which would lead them to revise the current Tolerable Daily Intake for BPA of 0.05 mg/kg body weight set by EFSA in its 2006 opinion and re-confirmed in its 2008 opinion.' The review also highlighted that 'data currently available does not provide convincing evidence of neurobehavioural toxicity of BPA.'

Philip Law, Director of Public & Industrial Affairs at the BPF said, "The Bisphenol A issue has become highly politicised in recent years and in some countries has become divorced from the reality and nature of its use. The EFSA's ruling on the safety of BPA provides a solid endorsement which should set consumers minds at ease. Plastics based on Bispehnol A are perfectly safe and not only are they endorsed by the European Food Standards Agency but also by a raft of other independent bodies including the NHS."

The BPF fully supports the findings of the EFSA review and its conclusions which provide an authoritative approval of the continued safe use of products produced using Bisphenol A.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Natural fibres from banana plant waste

The EC-funded BADANA project aims to develop procedures for the extraction of natural fibre from banana plant waste. The fibres will be used to develop thermoplastic composite products for the automotive industry.

The Badana project, led by consultancy Smithers Rapra, is half way through its two-year funding period and the first prototype of the multi-phase decorticating machine (MPDM) which automates the process of extracting fibre from the leaves of the banana plant has been developed.
Work has also been undertaken to analyse the fibres of a variety of banana species grown in the Canary Islands. This has helped in the development of formulations for modifying the fibre surface in order to ensure good adhesion between the fibres and the polymer with which they are compounded.
Successful candidate formulations have been selected and lab scale trials, involving injection moulding and rotational moulding of the developed plastic composites, have been carried out. The results have shown good behaviour of the fibre compared to other natural fibres in terms of mechanical properties and coupling to the plastic matrix, as well as resistance to degradation under processing conditions.
In the next few months the BADANA project will focus on completing the lab scale trials of the MPDM and optimising the machine design. Work will be undertaken to manufacture the composites on an industrial scale to enable industrial trials to take place. Parts such as components for car doors, washing machines and kayaks are expected to be tested at this stage of the project.
The Badana project will run until June 2011. The project partners are: BSH Electrodomésticos (Spain), Colorex Master Batches (Netherlands), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spain), Grupo Antolín Ingeniería (Spain), Grupo Regional de Cooperativas Plataneras del Archipielago Canario (COPLACA) (Spain), PEVA (Hungary), Queen’s University Belfast (UK), Rototek (UK), Sivel (Bulgaria), Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain), and Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain).