Calif. additives firm sees promise in nanotechnology

By Roger Renstrom
Correspondent

Published: May 2, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Suppliers

ORLANDO, FLA. (May 2, 2:40 p.m. ET) — Specialized polymer additive advocate Consortium Corp. of Whittier, Calif., spread the word during NPE2012 about the potential for nanotechnology.

Technical Director George Gilbert took opportunities in Orlando to “discuss some real benefits from inclusion of carbon nanotubes or nanoclay” in compounds. While not representing an exhibitor, he talked to custom and toll compounders, chemical producers, end users and others primarily at booths in the north and south halls.

“A few people are interested, but [they are] cost conscious,” Gilbert reported. “We try to be shepherds of technology working through the issues” for processors of plastics, elastomers and paints/coatings.

The advantages can outweigh the costs, especially for users of engineering or high-temperature thermoplastics, Gilbert said. “Those are areas where the benefit of technology won’t affect the cost structure that much.”

Consortium, a small business started in 2009, envisions nanoclays and carbon nanotubes exponentially replacing some current additives such as carbon black, ketchen black, carbon fiber or bulk clay.

“We are not just a distributor pushing nanotubes,” he said. “A number of people have done that and failed,” often because of insufficient consultation and work with their clients.

Among contacts in Orlando, Gilbert met with representatives of a compounder and a coupling agent manufacturer. The discussion explored the dispersion of carbon nanotubes into nylon to improve the flow characteristics of polyamides.

Apart from NPE2012, among “a few people getting close” to trials is an industrial hose and tubing manufacturer seeking benefits from including nanoclay in thermoplastic polyurethane to offset environmental changes, Gilbert said. Fuel additive “ethanol tends to eat up TPU in hotter weather.”

Aerospace companies and public transportation agencies look at the technology for the beneficial characteristics involving flame retardance, control of heat release and avoidance of toxicity.

In North America, Consortium exclusively represents the nanoclay-focused Nanocor subsidiary of Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Amcol International Corp. and the carbon nanotube technology of Nanocyl SA of Sambreville, Belgium.

In addition, Consortium works with Biosafe Inc. of Pittsburgh for its antimicrobial product line and collaborates with additive maker Enso Plastics LLC and water bottle developer Enso Bottles LLC, both of Mesa, Ariz.

Many companies looked into nanotechnology several years ago, but the economic downturn led to the liquidation or watering down of some research efforts, Gilbert said. “Now, they are on a better economic plane” and can explore “how to create value.”

Those in Europe and Asia “have been more open and done more to put the technology to work,” he said. “The U.S. is catching up.” A learning curve of about one to two years is customary.

At NPE2012, “people were talking about real projects rather than imaginary projects,” Gilbert said. “People are just starting to get their arms around this technology.”


Comments

Calif. additives firm sees promise in nanotechnology

By Roger Renstrom
Correspondent

Published: May 2, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

ISO publishes international standard for measuring phthalates in toys

August 19, 2014 10:40 am ET

The Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published an international standard on phthalates used as plasticizers in...    More

Image

RTP expands very long fiber thermoplastic production to Mexico

August 19, 2014 9:47 am ET

RTP Co. has introduced very long fiber reinforced compounds at its Monterrey, Mexico, facility.    More

Image

Report lists China's top 10 plastic mold makers

August 18, 2014 1:35 pm ET

A new market report ranks the top 10 players in China's plastic mold industry, showing strong geographic concentration in the Yangtze River Delta and ...    More

Image

Ineos takes its first step into UK shale exploration

August 18, 2014 1:15 pm ET

Ineos Group AG has moved into United Kingdom shale exploration with the purchase of BG Group’s 51 percent share of the shale section of a joint ...    More

Image

Construction firm invests in bioplastics maker Meredian

August 15, 2014 10:22 am ET

Bioplastics maker Meredian Inc. didn't have to go far to find a new investor.    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events