Saturday, November 23, 2013

bio-on Designs 100% Biodegradable Bioplastic to Reduce Environmental Impact of Electronic Devices

With 50 million tons of waste produced worldwide every year, electronics (smartphones, tablets, computers, etc.) are now a serious problem for the environment. To reduce the impact of the so called e-waste, a new contribution has arrived in the form of the revolutionary bioplastics designed by bio-on: this polymer (100% naturally biodegradable in water and soil) can be used as a substrate for electrical circuits. When combined with suitable nanofillers, it can act as an electricity conductor, with extraordinary, as yet unexplored potential.

"In this way it's possible to build electronic devices with a reduced environmental impact - Marco Astorri, CEO and co-founder of bio-on, explained during Maker Faire Rome — but the use of bioplastics will not be restricted to smartphones and tablets. We can extend it to highly advanced technological sectors, thanks to the multiple features of our bioplastics, their outstanding technical performance and excellent biocompatibility. In the future — added Astorri — this will also enable us to develop sensors and electro-medical equipment for health care".

The possibility of incorporating electrical and electronic circuits in plastic substrates, to obtain flexible, lightweight and easily integrated electronics, has been the subject of investigation by a team of Italian researchers from the Departments of Engineering of the Universities of Modena-Reggio Emilia and Perugia. They integrated carbon nanoparticles like nanotubes and graphene into bioplastics produced by bio-on, making them suitable for the development of sustainable electronics. The preliminary results of this research were presented in Rome during BIOPOL 2013, the International Conference on Biodegradable and Biobased Polymers.

"This type of plastic reduces the environmental impact of the device — according to Paola Fabbri, a researcher at the Enzo Ferrari Department of Engineering of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia — making recovery easier and cheaper. As much of the plastics currently used in electronics can now be replaced by biopolymers such as bio-on's, many businesses can already benefit by reducing the impact of the life cycle analysis (LCA) of electronic devices, as recommended by the European legislation".

Source: bio-on

Friday, November 22, 2013

BMW begins series production of i3 electric car

BMW has started series production of the BMW i3 urban vehicle, which features a passenger cell made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). BMW says this is the first time that CFRP has been used in high volume automotive production.The i3 is being assembled at BMW’s plant in Leipzig, Germany, where some €400 million has been invested in new structures and machinery for the production of BMW i models and 800 new jobs have been created.

   The production network for BMW i also sees key components manufactured at BMW Group plants and joint venture facilities at Moses Lake in the USA and Wackersdorf, Landshut and Dingolfing in Germany.
   The company has invested a total of around €600 million in the BMW i production network and generated over 1500 jobs.Deliveries of the BMW i3 to customers in Germany and other European countries will begin in November, with the car’s launch in the USA, China and other markets to follow in early 2014.
   “Today represents a milestone in our company’s development,” explains Harald Krüger, BMW Board Member for Production. “We are making history with the BMW i3. Not only is our first electric car about to hit the road, we are also completely redefining sustainability with regard to personal mobility..”

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Boeing rolls out first 787-9

BOEING has completed its first 787-9 Dreamliner, the second member of the 787 family. The aircraft was moved to the flight line, where teams are preparing it to fly shortly.
   The Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s construction is 50% composite materials. At 20 ft (6 m) longer than the 787-8, the 787-9 will extend the 787 family in both capacity and range, carrying 40 more passengers and has an additional range of 300 nautical miles (555 km).

 (The ÿrst 787-9 rolled out of Boeing’s Everett, Washington, factory on 24 August.)

   The second and third 787-9s are in assembly. First delivery to launch customer Air New Zealand is set for mid-2014.
   At the Paris Air Show earlier this year, Boeing launched the 787-10 Dreamliner, the third and largest member of the 787 family.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Avantium's PEF Fiber from Recycled PEF Bottles Used to Make 100% Biobased T-shirts

Avantium has made another breakthrough with its PEF (or polyethylene furanoate). It has demonstrated that PEF can also be used to make fibers, and even that PEF bottles can be recycled into PEF fibers. These PEF fibers from recycled PEF bottles have been processed into 100% biobased T-shirts.

The PEF fiber spinning and fabric weaving and dyeing was performed by the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University, using conventional polyester processing technology and equipment. The fiber market is an important recycling outlet for today's PET packaging, and the results presented today show similar end-of-life solutions that can be applied for PEF. During the World Cup 2010 in South Africa, shorts and jerseys made from recycled petroleum-based PET bottles were introduced by Nike for the national soccer teams of Brazil, Japan, England, the Netherlands and Team USA, saving petroleum based raw materials and reducing energy consumption by an estimated 30%. PEF T-shirts made from 100% biobased and recycled material would be the next step in sustainability, reducing dependence on petroleum and further decreasing the carbon footprint of apparel.

"These first PEF T-shirts are yet another important step in the development and commercialization of PEF as a 100% biobased and recyclable material", comments Tom van Aken, Avantium CEO. "The production of the first biobased PEF T-shirts produced from recycled bottles, adds apparel and sportswear to the many potential outlets of PEF. With its reduced carbon footprint, and improved performance, PEF is truly the sustainable plastic material of the future."
Since 2011 Avantium is developing PEF bottles with its partners The Coca-Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA. Recently Avantium signed a partnership with Wifag-Polytype for the development of thermoformed PEF containers, drinking cups and trays.

Source: Avantium

Friday, November 8, 2013

Arkema Unveils Bio-based, Transparent Rilsan® Clear Rnew PA Grades for Electronics at Optical Fair

Arkema has always been involved to propose innovative bio-based polyamides for highly demanding markets. Continuing the successful story of Rilsan® Clear G830 Rnew, the first bio-based transparent polyamide, Arkema presents at the Optical fair (booth at 1C-G06) from November 6th to 8th two new grades — Rilsan® Clear G850 Rnew and Rilsan® Clear G120 Rnew — for specific customer needs.

Rilsan® Clear G850 Rnew has been especially designed for injection molding application (i.e.: optical and electronic), to give maximum freedom to designers. It has higher temperature resistance compared with G830 Rnew, which allows broader decoration techniques use. At the same time, its high fluidity offers perfect solution for thin-wall injected parts and is therefore ideally suitable for eyeglass frames.
Rilsan® Clear G850 Rnew owns a broad spectrum of performance properties and benefits for eyeglass frames:
  • Excellent flexibility and fatigue resistance
  • Outstanding optical properties and transparency
  • Good UV and chemical resistance
  • Light weight
  • Outstanding processing properties
Rilsan® Clear G120 Rnew, besides the optical and processing properties of the range, has an outstanding chemical resistance, especially with alcohols. Thus, this grade can adapt to thin walled geometries and applications in difficult industrial environments.
All Rilsan® Clear grades are BPA free, allowing for a huge number of applications where health is a concern. As Rilsan® Clear Rnew grades are partially based on renewable resources, they contribute to reduce CO2 emissions.

Source: Arkema

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NatureWorks Unveils High-performance Ingeo Biopolymer Grades Designed for Durable Goods Mkt

NatureWorks now offers three new Ingeo high performance biopolymer grades designed for injection molding and extrusion applications. They will allow formulations comparable in performance to engineering thermoplastics at a cost lower than any previous high-biobased content polymers on the market.
These new Ingeo grades allow faster cycle times and production rates, a 15°C improvement in heat deformation temperature, and a three-to-four fold increase in bulk crystallization rate. NatureWorks expects to see these new high performance Ingeo grades in applications such as consumer durable and semi-durable products as well as food service ware such as cutlery and hot cup lids. Compounders can use their expertise to introduce durables with the highest bio content ever achieved on this cost-effective commercial scale. "Commercializing these new grades follows the very positive market feedback NatureWorks received from customers during pilot sampling over the last year," said Frank Diodato, NatureWorks durables industry global segment manager.

Key Features and Benefits of Ingeo 2500HP, 3100HP and 3260HP:

The three new grades extend the Ingeo property range and enable users to tune crystallization rate and stiffness (above the glass transition temperature) for custom formulations. The high-flow Ingeo 3260HP and the medium-flow Ingeo 3100HP provide broader molding temperature windows, leading to more robust process parameters for injection molding. Higher viscosity Ingeo 2500HP is designed to provide higher heat performance for extruded products.
"Our focus is to bring cost competitive, market-driven solutions to reality," said NatureWorks President and CEO Marc Verbruggen. "These new grades are the result of intensive research and development and significant long-term investments in our state-of-the-art production process."
The international Ingeo users' forum Innovation Takes Root will be held February 17-19, 2014, in Orlando, Florida.
Ingeo and the Ingeo logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of NatureWorks LLC in the USA and other countries.

Source: NatureWorks

BSA Completes Agro Operations Guayule Research Farm for Rubber Production for Tires

Bridgestone Americas Inc. (BSA) today announced the completion of the Agro Operations Guayule Research Farm in Eloy, Ariz. The research farm will supply guayule biomass for rubber production at the company's BioRubber Process Research Center, which is currently under construction in Mesa, Ariz.

"At Bridgestone, we are committed to helping ensure a healthy environment for current and future generations. Because the demand for tires is expected to increase in the long term, we are investing in identifying ways not only to diversify our natural rubber source beyond the hevea rubber tree, but also to explore other innovative methods to make our products more sustainable," said Bill Niaura, director of new business development, BSA. "Guayule fits the profile perfectly — as it's both domestic and renewable — and the completed Agro Operations site is a critical piece to delivering on our commitment."

Agro Operations includes a dedicated 281-acre research farm, two greenhouses, an equipment storage building, and a main research and laboratory building, which are all now completed. Teammates working onsite will research genetic improvement and optimized agronomic practices, scale-up seed availability for additional farming and biomass production, and build relationships with independent producers.

The farm started growing guayule for research use in spring of 2013. The team has completed the fall planting, which will provide the first biomass to the BioRubber Process Research Center for tire evaluation in mid-2015.

The center was designed by Hollon Design Associates LLC, a Tempe-based architectural firm, while BSI Construction LLC managed the construction. Bridgestone Group has established the usage of "100 percent sustainable materials" as an initiative to make full use of its technological and product development capabilities. Accomplishing this will require progress specifically in the areas of expanding or diversifying renewable resources. Through efforts such as guayule research, the Bridgestone Group will be able to offer its customers high quality products on a perpetual basis, since the products will be sustainable from a business and environmental standpoint. The project aligns with the Bridgestone Group's company-wide dedication to sustainability, One Team One Planet.

Source: Bridgestone Corporation

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Solvay at K 2013: Launched Bio-based Kalix® HPPA Series for Smart Mobile Devices

Solvay Specialty Polymers has announced a major extension of its Kalix® high-performance polyamide (HPPA) product line, launching a new portfolio of bio-based high-performance polyamides offered for use in smart mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, and other smart mobile electronics. The introduction includes the Kalix® HPPA 3000 series, the first bio-based amorphous polyphthalamides (PPAs), and the Kalix® 2000 series, a family of bio-sourced semi-crystalline polyamide grades that provide outstanding impact performance. Solvay unveiled the new materials at K 2013.
The Kalix® 3000 series breaks new ground as the industry's first bio-based amorphous PPA which delivers exceptional processability. The two new grades — Kalix® 3850 and Kalix® 3950 — provide less warp, reduced shrinkage, and low to no flash. This improved processability results in tighter dimensional tolerances and more cost-effective manufacturing due to fewer secondary operations such as deflashing. The two compounded grades consist of 16% renewable content according to the ASTM D6866 test method for determining bio-based carbon content. One of the key raw materials for the Kalix® 3000 series is a renewably sourced material supplied by sister company Solvay Novecare, a specialty supplier of surfactants, polymers, amines, solvents, guar, and phosphorus derivatives.
"The launch of the industry's first bio-based amorphous PPA is a major breakthrough because it extends the performance profile of bio-basedpolyamides," said Tom Wood, senior vice president of crystalline products for Solvay Specialty Polymers. "Our new series is a renewably sourced option that not only meets sustainability needs but also delivers world-class performance and processability."

Under the development work, Solvay utilized the specialized resources of its R&D teams in India, Belgium, China, and the U.S. while also taking advantage of new Solvay raw materials captively available since the Rhodia acquisition in 2012, according to Wood.
Meanwhile, the new Kalix® 2000 series of semi-crystalline materials, based on PA 6, 10, consists of Kalix® 2855 and Kalix® 2955. They provide strong mechanical properties, high impact, exceptional surface finish, and low moisture absorption. These two compounded grades consist of 27% renewable content according to ASTM D6866.
Both the Kalix® 2000 and 3000 series compounds offer manufacturers more sustainable options while providing the exceptional physical attributes and processing capabilities that are required in demanding structural applications such as injection molded chassis, housings, and covers, according to Sebastien Petillon, global market manager electronics for Solvay Specialty Polymers. "Our expanded portfolio of bio-based polyamides is driven by environmentally-conscious manufacturers who are continually striving for more sustainable alternatives," said Petillon. "These manufacturers also seek tailored materials to meet targeted application needs, taking advantage of Solvay Specialty Polymers' wide portfolio."
Both the 2000 and 3000 series contain monomers that come from the sebacic acid chain which is derived from non-food competing and GMO-free castor oil. Overall, in addition to their renewable content, the grades introduced today (between 50-55% glass fibers loading) provide greater strength and stiffness than most competing glass-reinforced materials including high-performance polyamides and lower-performing engineering plastics such as polycarbonate.
The introduction of the Kalix® 2000 and 3000 series represents a major expansion of Solvay's long-time offering of Ixef® polyarylamide (PARA) and Kalix® HPPA grades which have served the mobile electronics market the past 15 years. The new bio-based grades are expected to penetrate a greater share of smart mobile device applications due to their easier processability compared to Ixef® PARA, according to Petillon. Ixef® will continue to be used in niche structural applications where the ultimate combination of strength, stiffness, and surface finish are key requirements. The Kalix® 9000 series, currently one of the leading structural high-performance polyamide-based materials for the smart device industry since its debut in 2009, will also continue to be offered and improved for applications that don't require the bio-based composition and exceptional processing of the Kalix® 2000 and 3000 series.
Both the Kalix® 2000 and 3000 series offer an excellent surface finish. They can be matched to a wide range of colors including the bright and light colors of the smart device industry and can be painted using existing coatings commonly used for portable electronic devices. The new materials are available globally and Solvay intends to primarily manufacture in the region of sale, according to Petillon. The company expects most production to be conducted at its Changshu, China, facility since Asia is the primary manufacturing center for smart mobile devices.
Both Kalix® 2955 and 3950 have been qualified and specified by OEMs for use in smart mobile devices. Solvay is already developing next-generation bio-based products with enhanced flow, better mechanical performance, and higher renewable content for constantly redesigned and innovative smart mobile devices.

Source: Solvay

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Putnam Plastics Reports Increased Interest in Integrated Catheter Components Made by Medical Device Co.

Putnam Plastics Corporation, among the leaders in advanced extrusion for minimally invasive medical devices, reports increased interest in integrated catheter components made by medical device companies. These components leverage continuous manufacturing to combine sub-component processes, eliminate assembly steps and reduce manual labor, thus allowing device companies to reduce overall costs.
"Industry reports in 2009 suggested double digit compound annual growth rates for the interventional cardiology devices. By 2012 some industry reports adjusted this growth rate down into the single digits," said Jim Dandeneau, Putnam Plastics Chief Executive Officer. "However, this more likely reflects competitiveness and cost reduction pressures on devices rather than decreased innovation." Over a ten year period beginning in 2003 there was a steady decline in these patents issued until 2008, where it bottomed out at 168. Since then, there has been a strong increase in catheter patents issued reaching 454 in 2012, representing a 170% increase over the four year period.
"At Putnam Plastics, we have experienced double digit demand in complex catheter shafts since 2008," continued Dandeneau. "Leading device companies are increasingly looking for innovative manufacturing solutions to produce better catheter shafts while reducing total production costs and time to market."
Putnam Plastics' growth of ‘continuous manufacturing technologies' for complex catheter shafts continues to exceed market growth rates. Continuous manufacturing integrates multiple extrusion related processes to produce tubing with different properties on the inside and outside surfaces, and variable stiffness from the proximal to distal ends. These technologies replace costly manual assembly of discrete components for angioplasty, angiography, guiding and other interventional catheters.

Source: Putnam Plastics

BASF Introduces Partly Bio-based Ultramid® S Balance PA 6.10 for Monofilament Applications

BASF is now globally offering Ultramid® S Balance in a version for monofilament applications. The high performance polyamide 6.10, partly based on renewable resources, is available in various viscosities. The bio-based sebacic acid, which is used to produce Ultramid® S Balance, originates from the castor oil plant. In compounded and glass-fiber reinforced versions, BASF has already introduced the material in different commercial applications, e.g. in a design lamp or automotive quick connectors.
"The demand for bio-based raw materials is increasing worldwide", says Hermann Althoff, Senior Vice President of the Global Polyamide and Intermediates Business Unit. “The introduction of Ultramid® S Balance for monofilament applications is another contribution of BASF to support this trend."
Polyamide 6.10 offers unique mechanical properties such as higher dimensional stability and softness compared to polyamide 6 orpolyamide 6.6. Many of the benefits arise from less moisture absorption and higher carbon content. Due to its specific properties, Ultramid® S Balance can be used in various monofilament applications, e.g. filters for paper machine clothing or industrial brushes, as well as textile fibers and different engineering plastic applications.

High performance Ultramid® products for the engineering plastics, film, fiber and monofilament industry:

With more than 60 years of experience, BASF is one of the leading suppliers of high quality polyamide and polyamide intermediates for the engineering plastics, film, fiber and monofilament industry. The line of products include Ultramid® B (polyamide 6), Ultramid® C (polyamide 6/6.6 copolymer) and Ultramid® A (polyamide 6.6). The product offerings are supplemented by technical services for our customers.
BASF operates Ultramid® polymerization plants in Ludwigshafen, Germany; Antwerp, Belgium; Freeport, Texas and São Paulo, Brazil. The production of polyamide for film, textile and carpet fiber as well as for engineering plastics applications is integrated into BASF's global Verbund structure with polyamide intermediates (i.e. adipic acid, anolon, caprolactam), chemical raw materials (i.e. ammonia, cyclohexane, sulfuric acid), energy, by-product recovery, logistics and other services.

Source: BASF