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Revamped PVC product line yields new-generation resins and compounds.

Celebrating its first full year as an independent company, The Geon Co. is overhauling its PVC resin and compound product line, eliminating many old products and introducing a smaller number of new replacements for molding, extrusion, and calendering. It is also continuing an ambitious program of upgrading its manufacturing efficiency, aiming to become the low-cost producer of PVC resins and compounds in North America. In addition, the Cleveland-based company (formerly part of BFGoodrich) is pursuing initiatives to increase post-consumer recycling of vinyl durable goods.

Perhaps most important for processors is what's happening to Geon's product roster. In order to improve both its manufacturing economics and customer service, Geon is trimming minor variants from its product line and replacing them with fewer but more versatile grades that can satisfy a broader spectrum of applications. For example, the company plans to replace seven old pipe-fitting compounds with three new ones that can accommodate the same range of requirements.

Geon has cut the total number of PVC resins it makes from around 130 in 1990 to 33 last year, and will drop that further to 26 this year. A similar trend is occurring in vinyl compounds, which numbered over 4000 company-wide in 1991 (including different colors) and 2200 today. Sr. v.p. of operations Edward C. Martinelli believes that Geon can get below 1000 grades in the foreseeable future.

FOR EXTRUSION, CALENDERING

Geon 47 is a new suspension resin for extruded siding and window profiles, as well as calendering. It has a special particle morphology that's said to give 10-25% faster fusion than g-p resins, up to 5% higher dryblend bulk density, and improved powder flow properties for easier handling with less static-induced bridging.

In the past six months or so, Geon supplemented its DuraCap PVC alloy weatherable capstock compounds with UltraCap 95503, said to provide the "ultimate" in weather protection for premium siding, windows, and other exterior rigid products, such as bright-colored stadium seating. It's a proprietary alloy of an unidentified, non-PVC resin with Kynar PVDF from Elf Atochem North America, Inc., Philadelphia. Geon alloys the product to enhance processability, explains v.p. of R&D Louis M. Maresca.

UltraCap, available in pellets and in custom-matched colors, reportedly has good adhesion to substrates of rigid PVC, CPVC, ABS, PPE alloys, wood, aluminum, and steel. Based on 2-yr outdoor weathering tests of several colors in Arizona, Ohio, and Florida, Geon says UltraCap shows excellent color and gloss retention with low chalking. Geon also says UltraCap protection costs 15|cents^/sq ft, compared with 20cent for DuPont's Tedlar PVF lamination film and 25|cents^ for pure PVDF. However, the latter two also provide superior protection, Geon admits.

'NEXT-GENERATION' FLEXIBLES

Geon is coming out with what it calls "Next Generation Flexible Compound," a single product line for both molding and extrusion that's said to offer improved processability as well as better consistency and uniformity. Utilizing new resin technology and no additives containing cadmium or lead, these products reportedly provide wider processing windows, faster extrusion and molding, reduced die-lip bleed and plateout, and better adhesion in dual-durometer coextrusion. Among the products in this line are lead-free wire and cable compounds, of which Geon is seeking patents. Although "slightly more expensive" than conventional lead-stabilized counterparts, these lead-free compounds offer "no sacrifice in performance in any application," says a Geon spokesman.

These new flexibles can be customized with a range of additive packages--uv, high-compression-set, biocide, flame-retardant, low-plasticizer-migration; low-gloss, and low-temperature--so that the customer can order just what is needed without "over-engineering" and with short lead time.

Also new is a simpler nomenclature that identifies filler level, durometer, and custom additive package.

NEW CUSTOM INJECTION LINE

Geon has "completely re-engineered" its rigid custom molding compound line, employing new additive, resin, and compounding technology to come up with the Geon M-Series. These products reportedly offer 25% better flow than previous counterparts, allowing products to be designed with up to 10% thinner walls. M-Series grades are also said to mold at 50-200 psi lower injection pressures, permitting use of less clamp force and reducing molded-in stresses. Faster injection speeds and faster screw recovery have yielded up to 25% shorter cycles, the company reports. Other claimed benefits include much wider processing windows, 25-30% better shear stability, higher gloss, improved knit-line appearance, and no "streaking." Molding business director David Quester notes that M-Series viscosity can be changed readily to suit a compound to gas-injection molding, with which Geon has been experimenting.

The accompanying table shows the new Geon M-Series products and the older Geon standards they will replace. Other M-Series product roll-outs expected in 1994 include a high-pressure fitting compound, transparent blow molding grades, weatherable types, and grades designed to achieve UL Relative Thermal Index (With Impact) ratings.

NEW AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTS

One of several new Geon developments in automotive vinyls is a "non-yellowing technology" used in as-yet undesignated compounds that are awaiting OEM approvals.

Another is new Geon E-7 low-fogging dispersion resin for auto-interior plastisol applications. The company says the "unique chemistry" used to produce this resin cuts plasticizer fogging by 50%, owing to reduction in low-molecular-weight resin components. And there is no sacrifice of processing or performance properties, the company claims.

Geon has also fully commercialized Geon 90300 flexible extrusion compound for vacuum-formable instrument-panel skins. According to the latest data, it provides both triple the heat-aging performance and triple the uv resistance of traditional vacuum formed vinyl skins. What's more, skins made of 90300 reportedly achieve the soft feel of powder slush molding, which Geon says was formerly difficult to achieve in a vacuum-formable material. The fact that 90300 remains flexible over time enhances its recycling potential, according to Mark Johnson, general manager of Parma Plastics, Guelph, Ont., a PVC recycler. Overall, 90300 reportedly exceeds General Motors' targeted 1996 performance standards. Besides color and strength retention under adverse conditions, the product reportedly adheres very well to urethane foam.
NEW GEON M-SERIES RIGID MOLDING COMPOUNDS

Old Product Application New Replacement
Geon 87241 G-P interior, Geon M3700
 high flow,
 medium impact
Geon 87371 UV-stable Geon M3750
 interior grade
 for computers,
 business equip.
HTX 66215 High-heat Geon HTX M6215
Geon 85796 Type I fittings Geon M1000 (87750)
Geon 87337 High-impact Geon M1200 (87752)
 fittings


Also new is Geon 90400 flexible blow molding compound (75 Shore A), developed to replace slush molding in a door-panel arm rest on the Ford Taurus. This application was developed by Davidson Interiors, Textron Div., in Dover, N.H. Unlike slush molding, blow molding proved capable of producing an unbroken 360|degrees^ handle in the arm rest. Geon 90400 is said to dramatically reduce fogging compared with rotocast compounds. Also, blow molding allows reuse of scrap: regrind tests in an accumulator-head blow molder showed that Geon 90400 still met original color and physical-property specifications after five passes. And owing to higher molding productivity, one blow molding tool can replace many rotocasting tools.

RECYCLING PVC DURABLES

Recycling of some PVC durables is already established and Geon wants to see its scope expanded. Geon is participating in solidifying the formation of a post-industrial recycling loop for automotive manufacturing scrap, including wire harness, side moldings, instrument panels, arm rests, door panels, and miscellaneous "extruder drool" startup waste. Other participants include Waxman Resources Div. of Philip Environmental in Hamilton, Ont., Parma Plastics in Guelph, Ont., and Hematite Corp., also in Guelph. Clean vinyl scrap from auto-parts manufacturing is sent to Parma for recompounding into pellets. PVC on metal--e.g., wire and cable--goes first to Waxman for grinding and separation, after which the vinyl "fluff" is sent to Parma. Parma ships the recycled PVC to Hematite where it is used to extrude thick sheet that is thermoformed into acoustical barriers for new cars. This recycling loop diverts from landfills an estimated 25 lb of PVC waste per average vehicle--the weight of acoustical barriers in a car.

Waxman is already experienced in reclaiming PVC telecommunications wire, which it collects from AT&T, separates from the metal conductors, and supplies to Geon for resale or reprocessing. Nor is this the only PVC durables recycling loop in North America: For example, Turtle Plastics in Cleveland reclaims auto side trim and reprocesses the PVC portion into industrial floor mats, some of which are used in auto plants. According to Geon, some truck mud flaps are also made from post-industrial reprocessed vinyl.

To expand automotive PVC recycling to the post-consumer sphere, Geon is working with the Vehicle Recycling Partnership of Detroit's Big Three to develop a pilot program in dismantling cars and sending vinyl parts through the Waxman-Parma-Hematite network. Initial focus is on wiring harness.

In non-automotive durables recycling, Geon's most significant program is in Europe. IBM U.K. collects old computer monitors and keyboards and sends them to the Mann Organization in England for reclamation. The PVC parts are granulated and sent to Hydro Geon, a joint venture of Geon and Hydro Polymers, a U.K. PVC compounder. There the PVC is recompounded and shipped back to IBM for molding into new computer parts such as keyboard backs. Geon's manager of environmental solutions D'Lane Wisner foresees similar ventures starting up in Europe and the U.S. as early as this year.
COPYRIGHT 1994 Gardner Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Special Show Preview: NPE '94; polyvinyl chloride
Author:Naitove, Matthew H.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:May 1, 1994
Words:1521
Previous Article:UV stabilizers.
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