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Applications | electrical and electronic


Electrical and electronic equipment makers are looking for polymer solutions that meet demanding technical and environmental requirements while also cutting cost


Regulation and cost underpin innovation in electronics


Global regulatory moves to eliminate substances of potential hazardous concern are – together with the trend to miniaturisation, exposure to higher operating and soldering temperatures and, of course, the ongoing pressure on cost – presenting moulders supplying to the electrical and electronic device market with considerable challenges. Resin and compound producers are working hard to develop the materials that will meet these demands. This article takes a look at some of these new polymer options and how they are being applied. In the US, changes in the Underwriters Laboratories


standard (UL 1077) covering low voltage switchgear could open up this marketplace – traditionally served by thermosets – to engineering thermoplastics, according to resin producer DSM Engineering Plastics. The company says the changes bring the UL 1077 standard closer to the IEC/EN 60947 standard used in Europe and much of Asia and will open up cost saving opportunities to manufacturers prepared to make the change. UL 1077 sets requirements on, among other aspects,


the fl ammability of materials used in devices providing protection against overcurrent, or over or under-voltage within electrical equipment, such as miniature circuit breakers (MCBs). In the previous version of the UL standard, it was


compulsory for materials to display a certain combina- tion of fl ammability and ignition characteristics (UL 94 rating/hot wire ignition/high current arc ignition) at the


www.injectionworld.com October 2013 | INJECTION WORLD 11


minimum application wall thickness. Following the changes, materials with a Glow Wire Flammability Index of at least 750°C (according to the IEC/EN standard 60695-2-12) can be used for these supplementary devices. Glow-Wire End-Product testing (GWEPT) is no longer required and a material can now be approved based on UL Yellow Card GWFI listings. “The change in UL 1077 will spur growth in the low


voltage switchgear market as innovative product suppliers take advantage of the new design freedom it offers and the opportunities it provides for them to cut costs and increase sustainability,” says Peter Dufour, global marketing manager electricals at DSM. According to DSM, production of MCBs in engineer- ing plastics is much more cost effective – the company


Main image and below: Tougher environmental regulation and rising soldering and operating temperatures are driving change in electronics


IMAGE: DSM


IMAGE: DSM


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