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engineering thermoplastics | Innovation Polyketone returns

Korean company Hyosung has started producing polyketone, under the trade name Karilon. Polyketone was originally developed by Shell, under the Carilon banner, but despite considerable investment in the material and the construction of a commercial plant to produce it, Shell shut down the business before it was really up and running.

Figure 2: Ultradur B4330 G6 HR from BASF shows high resistance to humidity at high temperatures

Source: BASF

very light “ultra-notebook” portable computers. Steffan Huber, responsible for industrial marketing of informa- tion technology and appliances at Bayer MaterialSci- ence’s Polycarbonates business unit, says the company’s new solution can make the casings lighter and thinner while maintaining sturdiness and safety. And Ning Hao, Material Engineer at electronics company Lenovo, says it “enables manufacturers to save energy and time in the production process of the parts. One full set of housings can be produced in less than one minute.” While traditional notebooks can weigh up to 2.6kg

and have a 3.5cm profi le thickness, the new ultrathin laptop generation offers weights as low as 1.5kg and the devices are only 2.1cm thick. Bayer says specially formulated reinforced polycarbonates can trim weight further to save as much as 100g more and can take the notebook thickness down to 1.4 cm or even less. SABIC says the need to maximize energy and

resource effi ciency in manufacturing and factory settings, as well as to improve accuracy and precision, is leading to growth in automation solutions around the world. In partnership with Siemens, it has responded to the need for more resilient automation systems by developing the fl ame retardant Lexan EXL 5689 polycarbonate copolymer resin used to manufacture Siemens’ SIMATIC S7-1500 controllers, part of the next generation of controllers for medium to high-end machine and plant automation. SABIC says the new material “pushes the bounda-

ries of extreme heat resistance while providing excellent fl ow and ductility.” It also has very high impact resistance. The development has provided Siemens with the ability to withstand the 5G forces acting on the components inside, as well as the external environment of the factory fl oor.

36 INJECTION WORLD | November/December 2013

After being unable to fi nd a buyer, Shell gave its polyketone patents to US company SRI and Hyosung is now a sub-licensee. The company is producing the polymer in a programme subsidised by the Korean government that has the aim of reducing greenhouse gases; polyketone is made from carbon monoxide, which is produced as waste by the chemical industry. Polyketone is currently produced on a pilot plant but there are plans for a continuous polymerization plant that would come onstream in 2015. Hyosung intends to sell Karilon to compounders rather than directly to injection moulding companies. Akro-Plastic, A Schulman and some other compounders are in the early stages of sampling the polymer; Akro-Plastic is proposing grades with 15 and 30% glass reinforcement, under the Akrotek PK banner.

A big advantage of polyketone is its high chemical

resistance. After 30 days in 30% HCl, it still shows over 300% elongation at break, according to Thilo Stier, Sales Director at Akro-Plastic. In addition, it shows signifi cantly higher resilience than acetal and even PA12. As-moulded, it exhibits a yield strain of more than 30% and its elongation at break exceeds 350%. Creep is also very low and the polymer shows very low water absorption. “Not only is polyketone able to fi ll the gap between POM and PEEK in gear pairings, it can also compete as a glass-fi bre reinforced variant with many tribologically modifi ed systems,” Stier claims.

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