Tuesday, October 30, 2012

LANXESS' GF-filled PA 66 Durethan AKV 35 H2.0 Replaces Metal in Audi's Engine Oil Pans

Compared with steel sheet or die cast aluminum, polyamides provide tremendous opportunities for reducing weight in the production of automotive engine oil pans. This is demonstrated by the 1.8 and 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engines used in the Audi A3, A4 and A6 as well as in the Volkswagen Passat for example. Their engine oil pans are made of Durethan AKV 35 H2.0, a polyamide 66 from LANXESS, and weigh roughly one kilogram less than a steel component solution. They are around 50 percent lighter than an oil pan made of aluminum. "Not only do weight savings of this magnitude appreciably reduce the vehicles' fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, they also improve the handling because this weight is saved in the area of the front axle," said Frank Krause, an expert for oil-bearing polyamide engine parts at LANXESS. The oil pans are manufactured by POLYTEC PLASTICS Germany GmbH & Co KG based in Lohne, Germany.

Great design freedom

There is a general trend toward compact engines with increasingly smaller and more complex installation spaces. This results in oil pans with geometries that could only be produced with great effort in steel sheet. With deep parts, in particular, steel bumps up against its limits due to the unfavorable draw ratios. Polyamide can shine in these cases with great design freedom. In addition to the potential weight savings, its primary advantage over aluminum is that it can be used to produce ready-to-assemble injection-molded parts. Oil pans made of die cast aluminum, on the other hand, must undergo post-molding treatment, such as deburring or machining of the flanges to make them plane. This work quickly adds up to a large portion of the production costs.
Engine oil pan
Audi's engine oil pan made of LANXESS's PA 66

Integrated functionality reduces component costs

Other advantages of polyamide over metal are the opportunities that injection molding offers for reducing costs by the integration of functions. In the case of the engine oil pan for turbocharged engines, for example, the sockets for the oil level sensor and the oil drain plug are molded directly into the component. "It is precisely when many functions can be integrated that significant costs savings over aluminum construction can be achieved because separate welding and mechanical work steps and the associated logistical workflows can be eliminated," explained Krause. Possible candidates for integrated functionality in engine oil pans include sockets for oil cooling and filtration, cheeks for expanding the volume of oil, oil return lines or reinforcing elements in the area of the transmission support.

Tailored high-tech plastic

Durethan AKV 35 H2.0 is filled with 35 percent glass fibers. Despite this reinforcement, it can be used to produce low-warpage oil pans whose flanges remain tight. The plastic's high toughness, stiffness and strength contribute to the ability of the oil pans to safely withstand stone impacts and bottoming out on a high curb. The thermal stabilization of the polyamide ensures the high dimensional stability of the components under typical sustained thermal loads.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Applied CleanTech's Sewage Recycling System Transforms Human Waste into Consumer Plastics

Applied CleanTech transforms human fecal matter into a variety of end products. Applied CleanTech's Sewage Recycling System turns the solids in sewage streams into a fertile source of energy and other consumer end products such as paper, envelopes and plastics.
Because ACT extracts — rather than digests — the bio-solids in raw sewage, its process reduces total sludge formation by up to 50%. Other advantages of ACT's Sewage Recycling System include a 30% reduction in wastewater treatment plant costs(and such costs, in turn, represent 30% of sewage processors' operating costs) and a 15% increase in plant capacity.

ACT's automatic recycling process also enables a reduction of accompanying odor problems during the treatment process, improves general plant maintenance and results in cleaner water. The company monetizes the 30% reduction in energy costs borne by the sewage operator by selling carbon credits.
The immediate product that comes out of ACT's recycling efforts is Recyllose™, which is a feedstock that has high cellulose content and low moisture. Recyllose is low in lignin, a tough substance that binds the cell walls in plants and is a hurdle in the race to create an efficient cellulosic ethanol because it's so difficult to degrade. These properties make it economical for sewage facilities that serve populations as small as 10,000 people to produce Recyllose.
ACT's sewage recycling system is already in commercial use as it serves some 100,000 people with facilities in Israel and the United States. Just since the beginning of 2012, ACT has received contracts worth roughly $3.5 million. This is just scratching the surface as we calculate the addressable market to be at least $10 billion annually.
Competitors will have to tread carefully in emulating ACT's recycling process. Management has protected the intellectual property that arose throughout nine years of research by filing some 35 patents which are categorized in seven patent families.

Source:Applied Clean Tech

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bioplastic Production Capacity to Reach 5.6 Mn Tons by 2016, Expects European Bioplastics

An above-average positive development in bioplastics production capacity has made past projections obsolete. The market of around 1.2 million tons in 2011 will see a fivefold increase in production volumes by 2016 — to an anticipated almost 6 million tons. This is the result of the current market forecast, which the industry association European Bioplastics publishes annually in cooperation with the Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites from the University of Hannover.

The worldwide production capacity for bioplastics will increase from around 1.2 million tons in 2011 to approximately 5.8 million tons by 2016. By far the strongest growth will be in the biobased, non-biodegradable bioplastics group. Especially the so-called 'drop-in' solutions, i.e. biobased versions of bulk plastics like PE and PET that merely differ from their conventional counterparts in terms of their renewable raw material base are building up large capacities. Leading the field is partially biobased PET, which is already accounting for approximately 40 percent of the global bioplastics production capacity. Partially biobased PET will continue to extend this lead to more than 4.6 million tons by 2016. That would correspond to 80 percent of the total bioplastics production capacity. Following PET is biobased PE with 250,000 tons, constituting more than 4 percent of the total production capacity.

"But also biodegradable plastics are demonstrating impressive growth rates. Their production capacity will increase by two-thirds by 2016,"states Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics. Leading contributors to this growth will be PLA and PHA, each of them accounting for 298,000 tons (+60 percent) and 142,000 tons (+700 percent) respectively.
"The enormous growth makes allowance for the constantly increasing demand for sustainable solutions in the plastics market. Eventually, bioplastics have achieved an established position in numerous application areas, from the packaging market to the electronics sector and the automotive industry", says von Pogrell.
A disturbing trend to be observed is the geographic distribution of production capacities. Europe and North America remain interesting as locations for research and development and also important as sales markets. However, establishment of new production capacities is favored in South America and Asia. "European Bioplastics invites European policy makers to convert their declared interest into concrete measures. "We are seeing many general supportive statements at EU level and in the Member States", says Andy Sweetman, Chairman of European Bioplastics. "There is, however, a lack of concrete measures. If Europe wants to profit from growth at all levels of the value chain in our industry, it is high time the corresponding decisions are made."
For a more in-depth impression of the world of bioplastics, visit the 7th European Bioplastics Conference on 6 and 7 November in Berlin. With over 400 experts on hand, the European Bioplastics Conference is the leading industry event in Europe.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bangkok Metro to Use ICCO's Fire-resistant Pultruded Profiles as Third Rail Covers

One of the European leaders in pultruded composite material profiles is going to provide 20 kilometers of the Thailand capital with third rail covers. ICCO COMPOSITES produces top contact third rails up to 4 and 6 meters long which comply with safety and resistance requirements. Delivery is planned for early 2013 and should be open to the public on 2015.

Maximum underground safety

ICCO COMPOSITES pultruded profiles (especially designed for the top contact third rail) comply with all local security requirements and provide fire-resistant solutions for an even better safety.
Totally insulating, these profiles show many fire-resistant features and benefits: fire-resistant, low smoke emission, UV resistant, etc.
"The fact that one quarter of our activity is dedicated to the railway industry enables us to have a perfect knowledge of the market and business demand as regards safety issues. We can comply with our customers' most important safety requirements and have been able to develop the main of our activity to answer to our customer needs. To date, one customer out of three is using the whole range of our methods of production (pultrusion, machining and finishing, molding), from design to finishing" says ICCO COMPOSITES Sales Manager Bertrand VIEILLE.

Up to 200kms of third rail for ICCO COMPOSITES

ICCO COMPOSITES has already worked on Alger, Athens, Taipei, Almaty and Milan projects and will soon cross the 200 km border line with this third rail order. Bertrand Vieille says "ICCO COMPOSITES establishes a partnership rather than a customer/supplier relationship with its customers. Our work experience in the railway industry together with our wide and global know-how (pultrusion, machining and finishing, molding) enable our customers to have one single partner who is experienced with their range of activity. We perfectly know the railway industry requirements and can comply with them to deliver a competitive finished product".