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K 2019 has closed its doors on 23 October 2019 after eight exciting days in Düsseldorf, Germany. 3,330 exhibitors (2016: 3,285) from 63 nations proved impressively: plastics continue to be an innovative, indispensable material. But they also underscored the necessity of having operational circular economies along the complete material chain and to this end already presented numerous concrete solutions.
The Hamburg-based distributor and compounder Albis Plastic has announced plans for a significant internal restructuring. The company said in a statement issued on 17 October 2019 that by mid-2020, its Distribution and Compounding businesses will be transferred to formally separated companies with their own growth and profit responsibility under the umbrella of a holding company. At K 2019 in Düsseldorf Philip O. Krahn, CEO of Albis, spoke with RFP Rubber Fibres Plastics about the reasons for this decision.
Bridgestone Corporation announced that it has developed a new polymer to bond rubber and resins at the molecular level. The polymer is said to show the high levels of durability and resistance found in conventional rubber coupled with substantially higher levels of performance with regard to difficulty of opening holes (puncture resistance), fixability (recyclability, repairability), and resistance to low temperatures (low-temperature impact resistance). The name that was chosen for this polymer is Susym.
The AVK – Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe has published the 2019 market report for glass fibre reinforced plastics (GRP). Total GRP production is unchanged compared to 2018 at a total volume of 1.141 million t in 2019. The GRP market is expected to stagnate in 2019 after six consecutive years of growth. Germany remains the largest manufacturer of GRP with 225,000 t. Some growth is observed in thermoplastic processes, SMC/BMC and pultrusion. The present article is a summary of the full market report, which can be downloaded free of charge at AVK’s website.
Liquid silicone rubber (LSR) has become firmly established on the market since it was introduced in the 1980s. In most cases, molded silicone rubber parts are post-cured. Especially when intended for use in food, babycare or medical applications. The treatment removes any residual volatiles or extractable substances from the elastomer and allows the materials to meet the strict regulatory requirements for silicone items used in these sensitive applications. The industry is also increasing pressure on silicone processors to reduce the content of volatiles in finished products. To fulfil this requirement, Wacker has significantly reduced the volatiles content of the LSR grades manufactured in Europe. In the process, the company upgraded its LSR line to a low-volatile product portfolio. With Elastosil LR 5040, a product line especially for manufacturing silicone goods for the food, babycare, pharmaceuticals and medical industries has been developed.
Choosing the right colourant for plastics is not a simple matter, since each application has its own requirements. Many factors regarding material and processing have to be taken into consideration. The task is not made easier, when certain functionalities are required. Close cooperation between all players along the value chain is advantageous. The development of a TPE-colourant at Finke is a good example how a good collaboration between all suppliers pays off.
In April 2019 Dr. Donald Chen has been appointed as new Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
of Arlanxeo. In our interview during K 2019 in Düsseldorf in October 2019 he talked about recent and future investments, challenges facing the rubber industry and the meaning of sustainability and bio-based feedstock for Arlanxeo.
It is estimated that the global market for thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) for medical and healthcare applications will be of the order of 375,0000 t in 2019. It is likely that this market will grow with a CAGR of 8.5 % to 565,000 t by 2024. This represents the highest growth rate of all thermoplastic elastomers. The reason for such growth is a combination of a growing number of the world’s population seeking medical care as well as a move to replace a number of incumbent materials, in particular PVC. In addition, certain vulcanised elastomers are also likely to be replaced by thermoplastic elastomers at the same time. The main driving force behind these changes is the need to supply the market with products which have a much higher degree of purity. In Europe in particular, the introduction of the EU medical device and in vitro regulations 2017/745/EU and 2017/746/EU, which will come into force in 2020, will drive the producers of medical devices to examine alternative materials, which fully comply with these new regulations. Other geographical regions will also be forced to comply with these regulations, since from 2020 it will be very difficult to supply the European Union, unless all their products comply as well.
Liquid silicone rubber (LSR) is mainly processed by liquid injection molding (LIM) because the material is particularly suitable for this purpose due to its low viscosity during processing. The density of the vulcanizate is about 1.1 g/cm³. With the aid of foamed silicones, density reductions of 0.5 g/cm³ to 1.0 g/cm³ can be achieved. This reduces the material requirement and consequently also the price. In addition, the insulation behavior against heat and cold as well as the floatability can be positively influenced. The floatability is decisive for separation processes in the recycling of materials. In this study, the positive effect of expandable thermoplastic microspheres as blowing agents in LSR will be illustrated.
Considerable attention is paid to the influence of crosslink density and crosslink structures on behavior of polymer chains and properties of elastomers. However, a very important parameter seems to be underestimated: the modifications to the polymer chains by curatives, formed by sulfur and fragments of accelerators. The present paper intends to draw attention to this important contribution to performance of spatial networks. Emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber (E-SBR) samples, cured with tetramethylthiuram disulfide and sulfur (TMTD/S8), and zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate with sulfur (ZDT/S8), were studied. They were characterized in detail in terms of crosslink density and crosslink structures. Microscale techniques were used to obtain information about the behavior of the polymer chains: PALS to study the free volume structure; DSC and DMA to monitor the glass transition process. Properties such as static mechanical performance and thermal stability were also evaluated. All of the investigated characteristics were influenced by a combination of crosslink density, crosslink structures, and, to a large extent, by the modifications of the polymer chains. The effect of the modifications is dependent on the amount and the structure of the curatives’ molecules. On the basis of the obtained results, the reliability of “phr” unit used for calculation of the curatives’ amount has been queried. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that DSC, DMA and PALS techniques can provide evidence for the presence of the modifications on the polymer chain by curatives. Part 1 describes how the composition of the curing system generally influences the network structure. It contains the experimental part and the comparison of the crosslink density, crosslink structures and modifications of the chains, formed as a result of curing with TMTD/S8 or ZDT/S8.
Safety for patient and user is an essential requirement for medical products, in-vitro diagnostics and pharmaceutical packaging. Subsequently, plastics grades used in medical have to fulfil particular requirements, i.e. constant properties, formulation lock or biocompatibility. Surprisingly, no standard has existed to define the requirements for medical grades so far. This gap has been filled recently by the new guideline VDI 2017 developed and launched by a work group of the German Engineer’s Society (VDI). This article addresses the development of the new guideline VDI 2017 “medical grade plastics” and presents the essential requirements to be covered by medical grade plastics (MGP).