BASF Corp. will begin production of high-speed grades of its Ultradur-brand polybutylene terephthalate in North America in early 2007.
Florham Park, N.J.-based BASF hasn't yet decided if it will make the PBT grades in Wyandotte, Mich., or Sparta, Tenn., North American engineering plastics manager Joe Venner said in a recent telephone interview.
High-speed Ultradur first was made at a BASF site in Scwarzheide, Germany, and was introduced into the North American market last year. The grades have proved successful in improving cycle times as much as 40 percent, although Venner said improvements more commonly are in the 20-30 percent range.
The materials contain nanoparticles that can reduce melt viscosity by as much as 50 percent. The new grades are being targeted at automotive and electrical/electronic uses. They often are sold in glass-filled compounds and can be combined with PET or acrylic styrene acrylonitrile, to improve performance in shrinkage and other areas, Venner said.
He added that nanoparticles - such as nanoclays or nanotubes - can be added to the new PBT products either at the polymerization or compounding stage, depending on what type of results are desired.
Globally, the PBT market is set to record growth of 5-6 percent, Venner said. Growth in North America will be lower, because of a slowdown in automotive, including a shift from trucks to cars which use less PBT per vehicle, he said.