K 2013 showcases innovation

04 October 2013 09:39  [Source: ICB]

With delegates soon to descend upon the vast halls of the Dusseldorf arena for the triannual K plastics trade fair, several thousand exhibitors are waiting to reveal their latest products and technologies. Here we pick just a few highlights

BASF is highlighting several areas of its realigned plastics business, which now has all its specialty polymers activity bundled into the newly created performance materials division. It is concentrating on bringing the specialty business even closer to the customer, as well as making a systematic entry into growth markets and focusing on increased use of renewable resources.

 Bayer MaterialScience researchers have worked hard to develop 3D displays

“The bundling of product groups with the same business model – downstream specialty plastics on the one hand and large volume basic products on the other – will help BASF to better focus on meeting customers’ needs and operational excellence,” explains BASF vice chairman Martin Brudermüller.

The aim, the company says, is to continue to grow faster than the market with its downstream plastics, as well as large-volume monomers and commodity polymers.

Wind energy is one area of focus in entering new growth markets. Another area of expansion is the biopolymers business. In cooperation with TÜV SÜD, BASF has developed a process for flexible use of renewable raw materials in its production verbund with a methodology for allocating renewable feedstock to selected certified sales products.

BASF hopes to take advantage of cross-divisional cooperation to enter the growth market of wind energy with the establishment of a global industry team involving five operating divisions. In addition to Baxxodur epoxy resin systems that speed up rotor blade manufacturing processes by as much as 30% and the structural foam Kerdyn based on polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which adds stability in rotor blade interiors, BASF also supplies coating systems for rotor blades and towers, special grouting mortars and concrete additives for foundations and towers and lubricants for wind turbine gearboxes.


 BASF epoxy structure for wind turbines

Bayer MaterialScience is focusing attention on polycarbonate (PC) in the automotive sector in its K 2013 offering. When it comes to the interior of their automobiles, it says, people dream of a customised comfort zone that offers a level of comfort similar to that of their living room, while including all the latest technology and a high degree of functionality.

It is presenting a complete material concept for the future design of automobile interiors that goes a long way toward fulfilling this customer dream, using an integrated design based on polycarbonate.

One example is innovative displays with a homogeneous, three-dimensional surface, but sharp images and high brightness, made possible by rear-projection (RP) technology. Bayer MaterialScience has developed the special polycarbonate film Makrofol RP for this application. When it is switched off, only an elegant, matte black surface is visible.

Slim, retractable components that are visible when switched on fit well with the current infotainment trend. Blends from the Bayblend line and the transparent polycarbonate Makrolon LED are used here. The latter was specifically developed for lighting engineering applications.

These products also play a key role in the production of coated components with integrated light guides.

Bayer MaterialScience is also demonstrating the great potential of polycarbonate in the versatile design of components using a decorative fascia as an example. A wide array of surfaces and design variants can be produced efficiently. These include matte and high-gloss structures, attractive shades with deep lustre, and coated or metallised surfaces. Bayblend PG blend grades can be combined with innovative structured chromium variants to produce high-quality galvanised components.


 LANXESS wants to focus on green mobility and high-performance elastomers

LANXESS will be focusing on innovative solutions for green mobility at K 2013. “Worldwide there are more than 1bn cars on our roads, and by 2050 this figure is expected to rise to 2.5bn. Sustainable mobility is therefore becoming a global megatrend,” says Werner Breuers, member of the LANXESS board. “With numerous products and technologies, LANXESS is already a pioneer in green mobility.”

LANXESS will use the trade fair to focus on high-performance rubber and rubber chemicals for green tyres with low rolling resistance, high-tech thermoplastics for lightweight construction, and rubber based on sustainable raw materials.

It is looking to capture new market share worldwide in Keltan ethylene-propylene high-performance elastomers (EPDM) with advanced production technologies, investment in growing markets and a focused portfolio.

Innovative ACE technology plays a key role in this, producing EPDM without the use of chlorine in a high-purity process and with a composition that can be controlled with a degree of detail that has hardly been possible in the past.

“Seven grades in the EPDM portfolio have the ACE technology to thank for their superior performance. It is also enabling us to add new EPDM grades to our portfolio,” says Torsten Derr, head of the Keltan elastomers business unit. Investments include the world’s largest EPDM plant at Changzhou in China, with capacity of up to 160,000 tonnes/year. Start of production is scheduled for 2015.

Styrenics specialist Styrolution is offering an in-depth look at its innovative product portfolio and company culture at K 2013. Roberto Gualdoni, Styrolution CEO, says: “Styrolution will present solutions that address global trends such as mobility, resource efficiency and the rise of age- and wealth-related disease. We will demonstrate firsthand how we work to drive success – together with our customers – by featuring product applications that bring value and a competitive edge across the seven industries we serve.”

Featured innovations include new transparent products with high-impact strength, and variations of Novodur Ultra for electroplating and saving material costs in automotive production .

In the transparent area, Styrolution is presenting two new ZYLAR product variations: ZYLAR 550 and ZYLAR 960. ZYLAR products are transparent methyl methacrylate-butadiene-styrene copolymers (MBS) most commonly used in the manufacturing of medical devices and household goods. In addition to their unparalleled crystal-clear clarity, high optical quality and ease of processing, these products demonstrate high-impact strength and are resistant to alcohol and washing and cleaning agents.

Both types of ZYLAR demonstrate outstanding flowability, while their modular character allows for stiffness and toughness adapted to customer requirements. This combination of properties makes ZYLAR 550 and 960 ideal for application in a large number of industries.

Sustainable and innovative solutions that address key global challenges like climate change are the focus of the DSM presence at K 2013. With a portfolio of high-performance plastics for applications in automotive, electrical and electronics, flexible food packaging, and consumer goods, the company is committed to do everything it can to contribute to a more sustainable world.

In electrical and electronics, miniaturisation, lightweighting and speed of innovation are key. DSM is supporting customers to make thinner designs and integrate functions using materials that have excellent processing properties and are halogen-free and therefore contribute to reducing the environmental impact of e-waste.

DSM is also innovating in the flexible food packaging industry. Akulon XS, for example, a newly developed modified polyamide 6 for co-extruded blow barrier film, provides improved bubble stability and reduces wrinkling in lay-flat film.

Food packaging is just one application anticipated for cast films made by DSM development partner MF Folien based on EcoPaXX polyamide 410. The film can also be used in applications in medical, aviation and shipping, and building and construction. Another high-performance application for bio-based EcoPaXX is in building and construction: thermal breaks in aluminium window profiles that also contribute to the mechanical integrity of the windows.

With its broad portfolio of engineering plastics, which encompasses Arnitel thermoplastic copolyester and Arnite PBT and PET, as well as one of the widest portfolios of poly-amides in the world (including Stanyl PA46, Stanyl ForTii PA 4T, EcoPaXX PA 410, Akulon PA6 and PA66, and Novamid PA6, PA66 and PA6/66), DSM is in a strong position to drive innovation across markets demanding high-performance sustainable materials.

By: John Baker
+44 20 8652 3214

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