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News GREEN MATERIALS

Another German firm Henkel, in cooperation with compounder and biopolymer specialist Te c n a r o , h a s d e v e l o p e d n e w p o l y a m i d e ad dit ive s that upgrade the impact resistance and fibrematrix adhesion performance of bio-based plastics. Containing a large proportion of natural raw materials, Macromelt additives are ideal for the production of industrial plastics. This has become possible through the use of dimer fatty acids b a s e d o n n at u r a l o i l s ( f o r e x a m p l e , r apeseed and tall oil). Depending on the plastics formulation, the additives are capable of reducing processing temperature, with a positive effect on stability and appearance. By developing Macromelt polyamide technology further, Henkel says it is thus helping to improve the quality and usability of bioplastics and paving the way for further high-end applications. Meanwhile, UK-based Enzymoplast Technology has introduced an enzyme-based additive, which is the result of seven years of research and promotes a chemical reaction in PE to accelerate the process of biodegradation. The company says that microbial breakdown is initiated where the carbonyl group is found and these functional groups are introduced into PE during the photo thermal biodegradation process. The formulation of the bacteria enzyme-based substrate used in the Enzymoplast masterbatch consists of 13 ingredients narrowed down to the enzyme, protein and bacteria compound drawn primarily from natural resources and medicinal plants that are sustainably sourced. This renders both the process methodology and technology non-hazardous and non-toxic. It has been tested and certified to comply with the required directive (94/62/EC). The final product is 100% biodegradable and composts leaving no toxic waste and adheres to biodegradability and compostability standards EN13432 and ISO14855. Automotive makers aim for more bio content J a p a n e s e c a r m a k e r s h a v e a n e d g e o v e r We s t e r n c o u n t e r p a r t s w i t h c o m p a n i e s l i k e To y o t a M o t o r working on introducing biomaterials in vehicles since 2000. In 2003, it became the first in the world

Almost all the interiors in the hybrid Sai vehicle will feature Toyota’s Ecological Plastic

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to use PLA in a mass-produced vehicle when it introduced the material in the spare tyre cover and floor mats of the Japan-marketed Raum compact car. It achieved another world-first when it used its bio-PET Ecological Plastic in the trunk lining of the Lexus CT 200h, released early this year. Its latest initiative is the use of an improved bio-PET (with better abrasion resistance) in the redesigned Sai hybrid sedan vehicle. The company says 80% of the vehicle interior will be made of the new material, such as the seat trims, floor carpets and other interior surfaces. It also claims that its Ecological Plastic outperforms other general bioplastics in terms of heat/shrink resistance and durability and performs on par with petroleumderived plastics, with costs of parts included. Another Japanese automotive maker Mazda s a y s i t i s t h e w o r l d ’s f i r s t t o s u c c e s s f u l l y r e c y c l e ten-year old scrapped bumpers from end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) into raw material for new vehicle bumpers. It will initially be used to make rear bumpers for the Mazda Biante minivan. C u r r e n t l y , 2 0 % o f b u m p e r s f r o m E LV s a r e processed into automotive shredder residue (ASR) and incinerated to recover heat energy (thermal recycling). In the 1990s, Mazda began designing bumpers to be easily recyclable and now the n u m b e r o f E LV b u m p e r s t h a t c a n b e e f f i c i e n t l y dismantled is increasing. Mazda has also developed collection and processing methods in collaboration with Yamako Corporation and Takase Gosei Kagaku i n We s t e r n J a p a n a n d w i l l s t a r t o f f i t s p r o j e c t i n this area first. US automotive maker Ford Motor is also continuously researching and introducing natural fibre-based plastics, such as the wheat straw as a filler in door trim bins, soybean oil-based PU foam blend in seats and head restraints (it recently introduced a 25% soy-based foam in the Lear) and castor oil-based foam for instrument panels. Its latest initiative is on the use of coconut husks as a composite reinforcement and it is working with yard and garden company Scotts MiracleGro, which uses coconut husk fibres as a carrier in soil and grass seed products. The fibre holds more water in the potting soil mix than soil alone, allowing gardeners better water release control in their plants. Scotts uses more than 31,751 tonnes/ year of husks and teaming up with Ford would provide a potential high value use for its leftover material, it said. Ford plans to research the use of the husk as reinforcement in plastic parts, which would reduce the amount of plastic needed and lighten part weight. Visible natural fibres will also provide a more natural look to reinforced parts than t r a d i t i o n a l f i l l e r s , a c c o r d i n g t o t h e c o m p a n y. I n the interior, the material could be used in storage bins, door/seat trims or centre consoles as well as for the underbody and exterior trim. ◆

Profile for Plastics & Rubber Asia

Plastics and Rubber Asia October-November 2011 Issue  

Plastics and Rubber Asia October-November 2011 electronic issue

Plastics and Rubber Asia October-November 2011 Issue  

Plastics and Rubber Asia October-November 2011 electronic issue