CHICAGO — ECC International debuted two calcium carbonate products at NPE 1997 in Chicago that it claims can improve productivity and properties.
C. David Richardson, director of marketing and business development for the firm's Performance Minerals business unit in Roswell, Ga., said at a June 18 news conference at NPE that the materials are the result of its recent push in polyolefins. It is now offering them in trial quantities as it begins their market development in North America.
Zytocal can cut cycle time by as much as 40 percent in blow and injection molding of polyolefins, said David Skelhorn, technical service leader for polymers. By weight, the pellet product is 90 percent calcium carbonate and 10 percent proprietary polyolefin binder. It is dispersible in standard extrusion components in molding machines without the need for mixing elements, he said. A patent is pending on the FDA-approved material.
Skelhorn envisions Zytocal applications in high density polyethylene bottles, housewares, caps and closures and industrial packaging.
He said it cuts cycle time by improving thermal conductivity of the resin, allowing faster heat dissipation. Its most-effective usage levels are about 10-20 percent. It tends to make the resin white and stiffer.
ECC introduced FilmLink 400, the first version of carbonate additives for blown PE film, at NPE. Skelhorn claimed it improves impact strength, stiffness and tear strength. He cited, as one example, a several hundred percent increase in falling dart impact of linear low density PE. It increases production speed because it boosts the resin's thermal conductivity.
FilmLink's performance benefits allow downgauging by as much as 20 percent, Skelhorn noted.
It also improves heat sealability, reduces the need for opacificiers and provides good slip and anti-block properties. Typical usage levels are less than 5 percent.
ECC said FilmLink is a specialty product with low moisture content and mean particle diameter of 1 micron.
Scott Brann, marketing manager for polymers, said ECC plans to license North American firms to make FilmLink masterbatches. It is discussing potential masterbatch contracts with undisclosed firms and expects to announce licensees in September.
ECC's Roswell plastics development laboratory includes a Killion 1.5-inch blown film line, two twin-screw compounders and two injection molding machines. ECC, which claims to be the largest producer of white minerals in the world, sells about $40 million worth of carbonate products annually to the U.S. plastics industry, Brann estimated.