Senior reporter Bill Bregar covered these news briefs from the Society of Plastics Engineers' Annual Technical Conference, held May 5-9 in San Francisco.
* Kraton Polymers LLC is pushing its food wrap made from Kraton styrenic block copolymer as a replacement for PVC wrap. Kraton film already is used in Europe and Asia, and officials of the Houston company said they have started targeting the U.S. market.
Kraton film has high oxygen permeability and moisture-barrier properties, strength, elasticity and puncture resistance, and lowers the chance of finger marks and indentation as consumers handle the product at the grocery store, the company said. To make the film, Kraton polymers are blended with polypropylene and coextruded with ethylene vinyl acetate to form a barrier.
* Dow DuPont Elastomers LLC introduced five new grades of its Engage polyolefin elastomers, which the company claims give an improved balance of properties, including processability, impact properties and higher melt strength.
Dow DuPont markets Engage to compounders, for boosting the performance of polyethylene and polypropylene.
The ethylene butene grades are designed to complement existing ethylene octene grades of Engage. Several of the grades are aimed at automotive applications using thermoplastic polyolefins, specifically, high-flow polypropylene compounds. Potential parts include bumper fascia, cladding and interior parts.
Commercial production will begin next year, but DuPont Dow has development quantities available now.
In one of six technical papers the company presented at Antec, it showed that the addition of its Tyrin chlorinated PE significantly improves the processing of PVC/wood composites, resulting in higher output.
* Crompton Corp.'s Fun Walk, held the Sunday before Antec, generated about $10,000 for SPE's scholarship fund, as 188 people walked the four-mile course through San Francisco.
At its exhibit, the Greenwich, Conn.-based chemical and plastics machinery company promoted its Hydrobrite white mineral oil, a replacement for paraffin wax as a lubricant for rigid PVC extrusion. The oil is about 15 percent less expensive than wax and performs as well or slightly better, with no plate-out at the die head, the company claims.
* Cleveland specialty chemicals producer OM Group Inc. introduced a calcium-based version of its PlastiStab heat stabilizers for processing PVC. The product covers a range of PVC processes, especially flexible and semirigid vinyl. The new technology also has resulted in calcium-zinc and trimetal heat stabilizers that can be customized to precise specifications.
James Reddy and Jeremy Hackett of OMG presented a technical paper on liquid calcium-zinc heat stabilizers.
* Rhodia SA of Lyon, France, is moving its nylon factory from Anyang, South Korea, to a complex in Onsan, South Korea, that makes precursor chemicals. The new site, which is to begin operating in early 2003, is needed to meet Asian demand, Rhodia said.
In other news, Rhodia Engineering Plastics in Farmington Hills, Mich., introduced two new glass-filled Technyl nylon grades, with 25 percent and 30 percent glass-fiber content. The grades are designed for car radiators and other automotive cooling and heating parts. The company also said it is developing new nylon versions for the water injection molding process, which can make hollow ducts.
* Battenfeld of America Inc. molded tiny filter screens on a Microsystem 50 press. The parts are small enough to sit on the head of a match. Battenfeld equipped the micromolding press with a special handling module, video-camera quality-assurance equipment, a sprue-picking device and a new Motan material dryer.
The West Warwick, R.I., firm also plans to demonstrate the Microsystem 50 at the Plastec East show June 4-6 in New York.