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Materials.

New-technology polyolefins make most of the news, followed by some enhanced styrenics and a bunch of recycled materials.

Polyolefins will star among the materials exhibits at NPE, as the ferment of new production technology spins off numerous new families with unprecedented balances of properties and processability. Although less dramatic, the news in styrenics is also significant. Enhanced HIPS and styrene-butadiene copolymer grades are offering low-end ABS properties at below-ABS cost.

Engineering thermoplastics, by contrast, are making no great fanfare this year. Many of the new grades, in fact, are simply lower-cost imports.

Processors who may be considering use of recycled resins will find that the range of sources and resin grades--both commodity and engineering types--is growing steadily.

A joint announcement at the show by seven major resin firms will be aimed at furthering the progress of international standards for materials-properties testing and reporting. NPE will see the global launch of Version 3.0 of the CAMPUS database, including for the first time property data on materials sold in North America. This debut is likely to accelerate what already can be seen as an emerging trend toward reliance on metric and ISO standards by major plastics end users.

POLYOLEFINS IN SPOTLIGHT

Polyolefins are undergoing rapid and dramatic changes under the influence of new catalyst and polymerization technologies being developed by most major suppliers. Some of the first fruits of these new technologies will be exhibited at the show. For example, Dow Plastics, Midland, Mich., will showcase its new commercial families of Affinity plastomers and Engage elastomers that have emerged from its Insite single-site catalyst R&D (PT, Oct. '93, p. 41; Jan. '94, p. 59; March '94, p. 17).

Himont Inc., Wilmington, Del., will preview its first LLDPE resins made by its new Spherilene process, although they won't become commercially available until a new 440-million-lb/yr plant starts up at Lake Charles, La., in the third quarter (PT, April '93, p. 105). These "High Performance" film resins are said to combine the toughness of hexene or octene LLDPE with the clarity of LDPE.

Two developmental families of LLDPE's will be highlighted by Union Carbide Corp., Danbury, Conn. Easy Flow boasts processability comparable to high-pressure LDPE, while Ultra Tuflin has extra-high strength (PT, April '93, pp. 45, 83). Both will be commercialized next year from a new 650-million-lb/yr plant at Taft, La., that will use Carbide's new Unipol II technology. Limited sample quantities of Easy Flow will become available in the first quarter of 1995, and samples of Ultra Tuflin soon thereafter.

Carbide also has a new HMW-HDPE. DGDA-2100 NT7 is available in commercial quantities. It's aimed at grocery sacks and trash liners.

Phillips Chemical Co., Houston, recently introduced its first HMW-HDPE film resin, which is made with a new catalyst (PT, March '94, p. 13).

And Quantum Chemical Co., Cincinnati, will show off several new PEs: Petrothene GA 700-750 is an extrusion-coating LLDPE that reportedly does not require equipment modifications or blending with LDPE. Petrothene NA 214-000 is an LDPE for high-speed lightweight extrusion coating of paper. And Petrothene GA 568-000 is an LLDPE for injection molding large parts.

In polypropylenes, Amoco Chemical Co., Chicago, will showcase two recently introduced new-technology families. Acctuf is a line of impact copolymers produced at a new plant (PT, Sept. '92, p. 130; April '93, p. 71). The newest grade is Acctuf 3950 with 35 MFR. It is aimed at auto interior trim.

A second new family is Accpro high-crystallinity homopolymers that reportedly have higher stiffness, heart resistance, and surface hardness than other PPs (PT, April '93, p. 71). Amoco has four commercial grades--two for injection (nucleated and antistatic), and two for sheet extrusion. One of the latter is Accpro ET, said to show enhanced thermoformability. Owing to its sag resistance, it reportedly can be used on wide-web (40-in.) forming equipment traditionally used for PS, whereas traditional PP is normally run on less than 30-in.-wide machines. Accpro ET "enhanced PP" also has a broader processing window and offers up to 20% faster cycles, Amoco says. Its higher heat resistance allows containers to be hot filled or microwaved. Amoco also has four developmental Accpro injection grades, including nucleated, clarified, antistatic, and long-term heat-aging versions.

Himont will highlight its new family of propylene copolymers for film, injection, and blow molding produced by the new Catalloy process (PT, June '93, p. 28). In addition, the company will introduce a new high-MFR film resin designed to make thinner films, as well as a high-flow sheet grade for thin-wall/deep-draw thermoforming. For blow molding, Himont will unveil a high-clarity grade for oriented bottles; an extrusion blow grade; a "soft-touch" grade with a unique pliable feel; and new high-clarity resins with excellent low-temperature impact for refrigerated food containers. New injection grades will include a 70-MFR thin-wall grade and several high-flow resins for auto interior and exterior parts, including one specifically for large parts.

Also utilizing new process technology, Rexene Corp., Dallas, will bring out its new development Reflex FPO (Flexible Polyolefin) line. These products are described by a company spokesman as combining high heat resistance with low density and superior toughness, flexibility, and elasticity.

Quantum Chemical will highlight its first commercial TPOs, which are made by an in-reactor process (PT, April '94, p. 72). These materials are being marketed to the auto industry under private label by A. Schulman, Inc., Aktron, Ohio.

In compounded products, Ferro Corp.'s Filled & Reinforced Plastics Div., Evansville, Ind., is bringing out new grades of Gapex glass-reinforced, impact-modified PP. They're said to achieve UL 746B Relative Thermal Index ratings. Also new are Gapex Alloy PP/nylon compounds, reportedly approaching glass-filled nylon in properties but at prices comparable to PP.

A FEW NEW STYRENICS

The news is less plentiful in styrenics, but still important. Dow Plastics will show off its first three commercial ASR (Advanced Styrenic Resin) grades for injection and extrusion. They're said to close the gap between the high end of HIPS properties and the low end of ABS (PT, Feb. '93, p. 73; June '93, p. 25).

And Phillips Chemical recently came out with a grade of K-Resin that also overlaps ABS properties. (PT, Feb. '94, p. 13; April '94, p. 73).

J-Von in Leominster, Mass., will introduce two new grades in its Hercuprene line of styrenic TP elastomers. One grade is designed for bonding with ABS, while the second is a clear material.

NEW RECYCLE-CONTENT RESINS

Growing opportunities for recycled resins in automotive and other markets will be reflected in new products shown at NPE.

BP Chemicals Inc., Cleveland, will launch its Barex RC and RC Clear acrylonitrile barrier copolymer resins, which contain a minimum of 25% recycle content.

Resin distributor Maine Plastics Inc., North Chicago, Ill., will introduce its new lines of recycled PC, ABS, and PS. MRC Polymers Inc., Chicago, is offering a developmental, 100% post-consumer blend of nylon and PP, called Salvage, which is intended for automotive under-hood connectors, semi-structural brackets, and cowl screens. Salvage 233 is a compatibilized blend containing 30% glass and priced as much as 30% below comparable virgin nylon grades.

Marco Polo International, New Hyde Park, N.Y., will exhibit new post-industrial and post-consumer recycled grades of polyolefins and engineering thermoplastics. These materials are based on molders' plant scrap.

Polymerland, Inc., Parkersburg, W.Va., has now compiled a roster of over 60 standard grades (including colors) of recycled ABS, PC, nylon, and PBT/PC. Newest in the "AVP" line is recycled PET/PC.

Fluortek, Inc., Phillipsburg, N.J., known primarily for reprocessed fluoropolymers, will introduce a new blend of DuPont Teflon FEP and Tefzel ETFE.

THE 'GRANITE' LOOK

At least two companies will showcase new resins that provide a "granite look" to molded parts. Aristech Chemical Corp., Pittsburgh, will display its recently introduced line of thermoformable acrylic sheet, known as Quarite. And Safas Corp., Clifton, N.J., is introducing its Granuplast family of granite-look thermoplastic compounds.

ENGINEERING THERMOPLASTICS

New grades of engineering thermoplastics will also be on hand at NPE, a number of them being Asian imports.

Resin distributor/importer Franklin Polymers Inc., Broomall, Pa., will display two new engineering resins from Asia. Panlite is a low-bromine, flame-retardant polycarbonate series from Japan's Teijin Chemicals Ltd. It has a UL 94V-0 flame rating. Suntra is a 40% glass-filled PPS series from Sunkyong Industries of Korea.

Miwon U.S.A., Inc., Paramus, N.J., is showing new low-gloss ABS from Korea.

An injection moldable and extrudable thermoplastic polyimide is being exhibited by Mitsui Toatsu Chemicals Inc., N.Y. The material is called Aurum and is said to match the temperature and mechanical performance of PEEK (PT, April '91, p. 14; June '93, p. 13). Aurum is now undergoing evaluation by the auto industry. It will also be exhibited by distributor Advanced Web Products Inc., Ingomar, Pa.

RTP Co., Winona, Minn., is exhibiting its new RTP 4200 compounds. They are based on Aurum polyimide and reinforced with glass or carbon fiber. Key properties include inherent flame retardance and high heat resistance, plus superior toughness and mechanical properties. RTP also is introducing a new 2099x Series of alloys of Amoco's Amodel crystalline polyphthalamide (PPA) and other crystalline or amorphous resins. The alloys are designed to lower the material cost and, in the case of PPA/amorphous alloys, they also add dimensional stability and reduced shrinkage. A third new product area is RTP's 1399x Series of impact-modified PPS, featuring improved toughness and dielectric strength, plus reduced flashing tendency.

Ashley Polymers, Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y., will introduce its first nylon 12 product line in plasticized and unplasticized grades for injection molding and extrusion. Heat- and uv-stabilized grades, as well as glass-reinforced versions, are offered.

And for thermoformers, Portage Industries Corp., Portage, Wis., will introduce sheet made of GE Plastics' Noryl GTX nylon/PPE alloy. It's said to have good properties at both low and high temperatures. Thermoformers can also look into sheet made in Brazil by PolyHard Ltda. and marketed here by PolyHard USA, Inc., Blackfoot, Idaho. Products include PS, PP, HDPE, HMWPE, and PC in sheets and rolls.

Polymer Composites Inc., subsidiary of Hoechst Celanese Corp., Winona, Minn., will introduce the latest of its Celstran long-fiber thermoplastic compounds. This one is ABS/PC with 25% or 40% glass, rated UL 94V-0 and 5V-A.

LNP Corp., Exton, Pa., will show its Verton long-fiber compounds. And Composite Products, Winona, Minn., will discuss licensing technology for making such long-fiber compounds.

What to Look For

* New-generation polyolefins bring unusual properties.

* New styrenics mimic ABS at lower cost.

* Recycled commodity and engineering grades multiply.

* High-heat thermoplastic polyimides are moldable, extrudable.
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Title Annotation:Special Show Preview: NPE '94; plastic materials
Author:Gabriele, Michael C.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:May 1, 1994
Words:1756
Previous Article:Heating & cooling.
Next Article:Chemicals & additives.
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