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

Slowing the aging process in plastics

October 31, 2014 1:13 pm ET

Australian scientists have developed a new material that can strengthen porous plastics by slowing their aging process.    More

Image

Packaging veteran Piercy takes over at R&B

October 31, 2014 12:30 pm ET

R&B Plastics Machinery LLC, which makes blow molding machines and single-screw extruders in Saline, has named 21-year packaging veteran Fred Piercy...    More

Image

Corbion Puriac considering PLA plant in Thailand, if customers commit

October 31, 2014 11:52 am ET

Biofeedstocks supplier Corbion Puriac will build a polylactic acid (PLA) plant in Thailand if it receives a sales commitment from customers.    More

Image

Using 3-D printing for molds to speed medical part development

October 31, 2014 10:17 am ET

3-D printing and additive manufacturing equipment maker Stratasys Ltd. is collaborating with U.S. design and product developer, Worrell Design Inc.,...    More

Image

Report: Lanxess may cut 1,200 jobs

October 31, 2014 9:40 am ET

German chemicals company Lanxess AG may cut up to 1,200 jobs, around 7 percent of its workforce, as part of a group-wide overhaul to counter overcapac...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events