Friday, January 21, 2011

The Van der Windt Group Introduces Floral Packaging Made from PLA

A biodegradable and compostable tulip sleeve is a new addition to Van der Windt Verpakking's range for the ornamental horticulture market. This introduction is Van der Windt's response to the growing interest in packaging made from renewable raw materials. As both the sleeve and the ink are compostable the sleeve can be put in the fruit and vegetable waste container along with the tulip stem trimmings. 

This bio-based tulip sleeve is made from PLA (poly lactic acid) a renewable raw material extracted from corn. The material is also ideal for magazine outer sleeves and as a coating for hot and cold drinks cups. The tulip sleeve has been given the brand name 'Feel the nature'. PLA is suitable for packaging all types of flowers. 

By purchasing the 'Feel the nature' sleeve Wesselman Flowers of Roelofarendsveen, the Netherlands, is investing in the environmentally-responsible processing of tulips. Every year Wesselman Flowers, under the name, supplies millions of tulips to European retailers. Wesselman strives to ensure its production and processing operations are as sustainable and environmentally-responsible as possible. The 'Feel the nature' sleeve is making a positive contribution towards achieving this goal.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BASF Offers Better Insulating Solution with the Launch of High Temperature-resistant XPS

BASF has now extended its range of extruded polystyrene rigid foam panels (XPS) with an innovative product. The new insulation material is called Styrodur® HT (HT = high temperature). Its key feature is a heat distortion temperature of up to 105° Celsius (application limit temperature). This makes the foam suitable for all applications exposed to high temperatures and requiring the proven properties of Styrodur C: high compressive strength, low water absorption, resistance to rot and outstanding insulation performance. Like all of BASF's Styrodur C panels, the insulation panels can be recognized by their green color. Conventional XPS can be used at a temperature of up to 75°C.

Styrodur HT stays dimensionally stable even with high ambient temperatures and with high solar radiation. BASF offers the new insulation material at nominal compressive strengths of 300 and 600 kPa. Styrodur HT is particularly suitable for inverted flat roofs subject to heavy loads, for insulating hot water tanks (including those in contact with the ground), for various insulation applications in solar technology and for all special insulation applications with hot water which are exposed to pressure and moisture. Thus, the service life of these applications is considerably increased.

Insulation material Styrodur C

The pressure-resistant, water-repellent, and rot-proof Styrodur C has been protecting houses from heat, cold and moisture for over 40 years, increasing the life of buildings, enhancing their value and improving the room climate. The various Styrodur C grades, which all contain only air as cell gas, differ mainly in their compressive strength.

ISO Certification Granted to Solvay's Solviva® Biomaterials used in Implantable Medical Devices

Solvay Advanced Polymers, LLC, announced that it has achieved ISO 13485:2003 certification for the quality system that governs the production of its Solviva Biomaterials offered for use in implantable medical devices. The international quality standard facilitates harmonized medical device regulatory requirements for quality management systems applicable to medical devices and related services.
ISO 13485:2003 is a quality standard that specifies certain quality system requirements to ensure consistent manufacturing, according to Judy Melville, Business Manager, Solviva products. "This achievement demonstrates our commitment to the medical device industry," said Melville. "It also reaffirms our position as a reliable supplier that is solidly focused on meeting the quality standards of our customers." Melville noted that a key element of the ISO quality standard is the use of validation methods to ensure consistent high-quality manufacturing. Solvay Advanced Polymers produces its unique line of biomaterials - featuring exceptional strength, stiffness, and biocompatibility - at a dedicated manufacturing facility in Alpharetta, Ga.
The entire line of Solviva Biomaterials is manufactured in compliance with ISO 13485 and under the relevant aspects of current Good Manufacturing Practices. The company's biomaterial manufacturing processes are carefully validated and enhanced controls provide product traceability. In addition, all materials are tested in a lab accredited to the ISO 17025:2005 standard.

The Solviva Biomaterials line includes Zeniva® polyetheretherketone (PEEK), one of the most biostable plastics available with high strength and stiffness plus excellent toughness and fatigue resistance; Proniva® self-reinforced polyphenylene (SRP), one of the world's stiffest and strongest unreinforced thermoplastics that offers exceptional biocompatibility and hardness; Veriva® polyphenylsulfone (PPSU), which provides unsurpassed toughness combined with transparency and excellent biocompatibility; and Eviva® polysulfone (PSU), which offers practical toughness in a strong, transparent polymer.
Solviva Biomaterials can be sterilized via all conventional methods including gamma radiation, ethylene oxide, and steam. These products are available in resin for injection molding or extrusion, as well as stock shapes for machined components. Solvay Advanced Polymers is currently in active product trials with several medical device manufacturers using the broad range of Solviva biomaterials.
Solvay's experience as a key materials supplier in the healthcare field spans more than 20 years. The company has been a leading manufacturer of high-performance plastics, offering its traditional range of materials for medical devices. More recently, Solvay has successfully introduced its line of Solviva Biomaterials for a range of implantable devices. The company is a full-service supplier, providing design, technical service, and application development support for the global healthcare market.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ResearchInChina Publishes New Report on the Global and Chinese Biodegradable Plastics Industry

A new report titled, "Global and China Biodegradable Plastics Industry Report, 2010" has been published by ResearchInChina.
According to the report, starch-based plastic, PLA and PHA, accounting for 90% of the global consumption of biodegradable plastics in 2009, saw their capacity grow rapidly from 306,000 tons in 2007 to 695,000 tons in 2009, with an annual compound growth rate of 50.7%. However, biodegradable plastics only accounted for less than 1% of the global demand for plastics in 2009. Considering the unstoppable trend of biodegradable plastics replacing traditional plastics, the biodegradable plastics industry has huge market potential.
Following the global trend, China's biodegradable plastics industry has developed rapidly. The biodegradable plastics capacity reached 80,000 tons in 2007, and soared to 150,000 tons in 2009, almost 100% more than that in 2007. However, in 2009, China's domestic consumption of bio-plastics was less than 8,000 tons, and over 95% of China's bio-plastic materials and products were exported to Europe, America and other developed countries, because people there have a strong awareness of environmental protection and are rich enough to accept expensive biodegradable plastics.
NatureWorks of USA is the world's largest PLA bioplastic manufacturer. Novamont of Italy is the largest bio-plastic manufacturer in Europe. Mitsubishi Plastics of Japan has become a leader in the development of PLA packaging materials in the world. BASF of Germany is one of the manufacturers that launched biodegradable plastics 10 years ago.

Zhejiang Hisun Biomaterials Co., Ltd. ranks third in terms of PLA industrial capacity in the world with the annual output of 5,000 tons.
Guangzhou Kingfa Science and Technology Co., Ltd. is the largest manufacturer of modified plastics in China, it started a biodegradable plastics project in 2009, and plans to build a 20,000-ton biodegradable plastics production line in the next two years.
Wuhan Huali Environmental Technology Co., Ltd. has become a leading enterprise in China's biodegradable industry with the annual output of 40,000 tons.
Anqing Hexing Chemical Co., Ltd. is China's first large-scale PBS enterprise, with the annual capacity of 10,000 tons. Zhejiang Hangzhou Xinfu Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. has built up the world's largest continuous and closed PBS production line with an annual capacity of 20,000 tons.
Ningbo Tianan Biologic Material Co. Ltd. is the world's only enterprise that has achieved PHBV industrialization.

Borealis' High-flow PP-based Compound Offers Peugeot's 206+ Front Grill a Paint-free Metallic Look

An innovative polypropylene-based compound from Borealis has enabled French car maker PSA to breathe new life into its best-selling hatchback, the 206.
Launched in 2009, the Peugeot 206+ is the restyled outcome of its famous '206' model. In addition to several modifications to the interior and exterior applications, PSA Design modified in a unique and innovative way the front grill. While seeking to achieve a high quality metallic effect, PSA opted for a plastic in-mass solution which could deliver the same high-quality result as painting the grill. 

PSA selected Borealis' Daplen™ EH104E-0515, a grade developed specifically for automobile exteriors. Daplen EH104E-0515 contains a special pigment which provides the same effect the car maker was looking for without the painting process.
"The use of an in-mass metallic color for aesthetical parts requires a high-flow material in order to reduce the weld lines to a minimum," explains Thomas Rothmayer, Senior Application Development Engineer of Borealis' Mobility Business Unit. "Daplen EH104AE is the perfect solution. Its excellent flowability reduces the number of injection points while maintaining a low pressure level."
Daplen EH104E-0515 is a 10% mineral filled compound with a melt flow rate (MFR, 2.16 kg) of 40 g/10 min. This enables filling of challenging parts, even at relatively low injection pressures. Inclusion of UV stabilizers makes it highly suitable for outdoor unpainted applications. In the future, this grade color will be used as a reference by Peugeot.
"The main challenge for injection molded grills is hiding the weld lines, a common problem of in-mass color solutions," underlines Claude Nicot, Project Manager at PSA. "In this instance, the flowability of material is a real advantage. The reaction time and assistance of Borealis was invaluable as it enabled us to complete this project in short order and we are very satisfied with the result." 

"Painting adds considerable cost to the overall production process," says Harald Hammer, Borealis Vice President for the Mobility Business Unit. "In addition, producing parts with the final surface effect already built in is more environmentally friendly than painting, despite all the advances in low-solvent paint systems. This project with PSA is just another example of our capability to develop innovative solutions in close collaboration with the Tier 1 supplier, in this case Plastic Omnium, and PSA as the OEM. I believe the effect achieved with the new compound is superb and specifically fulfils the customer needs." 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Innovative PLA Formulation that Lets You Walk on Nature Compatible Floorings

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based flooring materials contain toxic phthalate plasticizers harmful for the environment. As an eco-friendly alternative to floorings based on halogenated polymers, Michigan State University researchers have prepared renewably resourced biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA) polymers, by reactive extruding PLA blends, citrate plasticizer (blend of citrate and derived vegetable oil) and a compatibilizer.

This formulation has not only significantly enhanced the impact strength and elongation of polylactide, it can also be compounded with fillers (e.g. CaCO3) and cellulosic materials (e.g. wood flour), thus making it an ideal replacement for halogenated flooring materials. PLA polymer material can be used as decorative and protective coverings on floor and walls; automotive, truck, and recreational vehicle components; reusable material-handling containers; shelving; agricultural and industrial bins and conveyors; trash and recycling receptacles; furniture and fixtures, and much more.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Research at Fraunhofer Institute Enables Impregnating Plastics with Compressed Carbon Dioxide

Everyone has heard that carbon dioxide is responsible for global warming. But the gas also has some positive characteristics. Researchers are now impregnating plastics with compressed CO2 in a process that could lead to new applications ranging from colored contact lenses to bacteria-resistant door handles.
CO2 is more than just a waste product. In fact, it has a variety of uses: the chemical industry makes use of this colorless gas to produce urea, methanol and salicylic acid. Urea is a fertilizer, methanol is a fuel additive, and salicylic acid is an ingredient in aspirin.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT in Oberhausen are pursuing a new idea by testing how carbon dioxide can be used to impregnate plastics. At a temperature of 30.1 degrees Celsius and a pressure of 73.8 bar, CO2 goes into a supercritical state that gives the gas solvent-like properties. In this state, it can be introduced into polymers, or act as a "carrier" in which dyes, additives, medical compounds and other substances can be dissolved. "We pump liquid carbon dioxide into a high-pressure container with the plastic components that are to be impregnated, then steadily increase the temperature and the pressure until the gas reaches the supercritical state. When that state is reached, we increase the pressure further. At 170 bar, pigment in powder form dissolves completely in the CO2 and then diffuses with the gas into the plastic. The whole process only takes a few minutes. When the container is opened, the gas escapes through the surface of the polymer but the pigment stays behind and cannot subsequently be wiped off," explains Dipl.-Ing. Manfred Renner, a scientist at Fraunhofer UMSICHT.

In tests, the researchers have even managed to impregnate polycarbonate with nanoparticles that give it antibacterial properties. E-coli bacteria, placed on the plastic's surface in the institute's own high-pressure laboratory, were killed off completely - a useful function that could be applied to door handles impregnated with the same nanoparticles. Tests conducted with silica and with the anti-inflammatory active pharmaceutical ingredient flurbiprofen were also successful. "Our process is suitable for impregnating partially crystalline and amorphous polymers such as nylon, TPE, TPU, PP and polycarbonate," states Renner, "but it cannot be applied to crystalline polymers."
The process holds enormous potential, as carbon dioxide is non-flammable, non-toxic and inexpensive. Whilst it shows solvent-like properties, it does not have the same harmful effects on health and on the environment as the solvents that are used in paints, for example. Painted surfaces are also easily damaged and are not scratch-resistant. Conventional processes for impregnating plastics and giving them new functions have numerous drawbacks. Injection molding, for instance, does not permit the introduction of heat-sensitive substances such as fire retardants or UV stabilizers. Many dyes change color; purple turns black.
"Our method allows us to customize high-value plastic components and lifestyle products such as mobile phone shells. The best about it is that the color, additive or active ingredient is introduced into layers near the surface at temperatures far below the material's melting point, in an environmentally friendly manner that does away with the need for aggressive solvents," says Renner. The process could, for example, be used to dye contact lenses - and lenses could even be enriched with pharmaceutical compounds that would then be slowly released to the eye throughout the day, representing an alternative to repeated applications of eye drops for the treatment of glaucoma. According to the scientist, this new impregnation method is suitable for a broad range of new applications.