BASF Corp. has introduced its Ultradur-brand high-speed polybutylene terephthalate into the North American market. The Florham Park, N.J.-based firm also recently commercialized a new grade of PET for oven handles and has seen its Ultramid-brand nylon 6 resins used in office chairs and electrical wiring devices.
BASF first introduced Ultradur high-speed PBT at K 2004 in Dusseldorf, Germany. The material contains nanoparticles that can reduce melt viscosity as much as 50 percent. It's being targeted at automotive and electrical/electronic markets.
``Overall, [lower viscosity] increases the application capability range for our PBT products, as well as improves cycle time for our customers,'' said Joe Venner, engineering plastics manager in North America.
High-speed PBT now being sold in North America is made at a BASF plant in Schwarzheide, Germany. A BASF spokesman said the firm plans to produce the material in Sparta, Tenn., or Wyandotte, Mich., in the near future.
BASF is making the oven-handle-grade PET in Sparta. The material allows for the use of gas assist injection molding, which can result in weight reduction of as much as 50 percent, Venner said in a news release. The material also allows a multicavity gas-assist mold to be used in oven-handle production for the first time. The new Petra grade also offers improved surface finishes, the firm said.
The Ultramid nylons also are made at BASF's Sparta plant. The grade used in the office chair has 40 percent glass content and meets Knoll's durability and fatigue-strength requirements.
The Chadwick-brand chair was produced by Knoll Inc. of East Greenville, Pa., with molding work done by Mack Molding Co. of Arlington, Vt.
Cooper Wiring Devices of Peachtree City, Ga., has selected another Ultramid grade - a low-viscosity, general-purpose nylon 6 - for its switches, dimmers and other wiring receptacles. Ultramid's coloring options were important to Cooper, officials said, because many of the firm's products incorporate a two-tone look.
The plastics unit of BASF parent BASF AG of Ludwigshafen, Germany, had first-quarter sales of 2.8 billion euros ($3.5 billion), ranking first among BASF's five operating units. The sales total was up 21 percent vs. the same period in 2004. In pretax profit, BASF's plastics unit saw a 74 percent first-quarter jump, reaching 268 million euros ($337 million).
Overall, plastics accounted for about 28 percent of first-quarter sales for BASF AG.