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news EuPC alliance fights shortages


European Plastics Converters (EuPC), the Brussels-based trade body, has set out more details about the Polymers for Europe Alliance it announced at its annual meeting in Warsaw, Poland in May. The Alliance, which will be headed by Ron Marsh, former CEO of the packaging group RPC, was formed in response to a spate of force majeure announce- ments by polymer suppliers – the EuPC says that there have been over 40 in four months. “It seems that after months


of low oil prices, the petro- chemical industry appears to be clawing back margins in the polymer value chain by stopping some crackers in Europe one after the other,” said EuPC president Michael Kundel. The title of the EuPC’s


press release, “From ‘Act of God’ to ‘Act of Shareholder’’ hinted broadly at its views on the cause of the stoppages. “Due to the increased


pressure of several trade associations, users, OEMs and brand owners, the EU authorities are starting to look deeper into these force majeure situations,” added Kundel. The Polymers for Europe


Alliance says it will assist companies in requesting suspension of certain EU import duties in order to relieve current polymer shortages. It could also help its members to source material from outside Europe, possibly by setting up group purchasing platforms. In addition, the Alliance


Former RPC CEO Ron Marsh is heading up the new Polymers for Europe Alliance


plans to join industry and independent experts in a study of Europe’s polymer-producing sites, with a view to gaining greater transparency on future developments at them. It says


that existing market intelli- gence shows that that some sites have made over 11 force majeure declarations in two years. The current wave has led to line stoppages and threatened the continued viability of many converters, according to the EuPC. Finally, the alliance will also discuss possible assis- tance in legal action for converters who have no other recourse against suppliers making erroneous declara- tions of force majeure. “All plastics converters in Europe will now have the possibility to rate their polymer suppliers on specific customers’ criteria and some basic commercial and ethical rules will hopefully be reinstated,” said Marsh. ❙ http://bit.ly/PolymersAlliance


BASF supplies polyamide compound for the first plastic transmission crossbeam


BASF is supplying a reinforced polyamide compound for what is claimed to be the first plastic transmission cross- beam in a rear axle sub-frame. The component is being produced by ContiTech Vibration Control for the latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class all-wheel drive models. The part was developed using BASF’s Ultrasim simulation tool and is being produced using Ultramid A3WG10 CR, a 50% glass fibre-reinforced polyamide, optimised to withstand high mechanical loads. The compound has a low tendency to creep under constant loading


8


The first plastic transmission crossbeam is a “milestone in the use of polyamides in the chassis”


and the ability to withstand high bending torques. According to BASF, the new


beam offers a weight saving of 25% compared to the previous one made from die-cast aluminium. In addition, it provides better acoustics and conforms to the latest crash requirements.


COMPOUNDING WORLD | July 2015 “The new rear axle


transmission crossbeam is a milestone in the use of polyamides in the chassis. It has the potential to set a new trend in the automotive industry,” said Kai Fruehauf, head of the ContiTech Vibration Control business unit. Ultrasim was used in the


early phase of development to determine the size of the component, optimise its geometry and predict how it would behave in injection moulding and in operation. The simulation of ultimate loads, strengths under dynamic loading and crash safety reflected the real component behaviour very well, BASF said. The transmission cross- beam is a central component of the rear axle, supporting part of the torque which is transferred from the engine to the transmission, and bears a constant share of the load of the differential. ❙ www.basf.com


www.compoundingworld.com


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