The world's premier fair for the plastics and rubber industry will once again be presenting everything the sector has to offer in 2016. Everything from the latest state of the art and trailblazing innovations to development visions. Bioplastics can be biodegradable, they can be made of materials of biological origin (like corn, beet, lactic acid), or they can be produced directly through fermentation. A key driver in the field is government policy, regulations and incentives. The wide variety of bioplastic applications under development is a positive factor for growth, which also helps to capture market share from competing materials; huge potential lies within the fields of packaging, consumer electronics and automotive.
In a departure from its usual display of strictly technical applications, chemical giant Evonik will present AT k 2016, women's apparel made of 100% biopolyamide fibers based on the company's Vestamid Terra - A 100% biobased polyamide derived from the seeds of the castor bean plant. Castor bean plants, which can withstand long periods of drought, are cultivated in dry areas which are not suitable for any other form of agriculture.
Besides maximum wearing comfort and unexcelled performance, the fibers are lightweight, flexible, and breathable. Processed into high-quality fabrics, they have an odor-reducing effect thanks to their lasting natural bacteriostatic characteristics. In addition, they dry quickly and require no ironing. As a result of this range of highly desirable properties, the fibers are suitable for processing in all textile applications, including an Italian designer fabric for evening gowns, functional sporting togs, and durable upholstery materials.
The product development process profited from Evonik's technical expertise in the area of high-performance plastics as well as the fiber-processing experience of Fulgar, an Italian fiber manufacturer marketing the biopolyamide fibers under the EVO brand name.
The Vestamid Terra family is comprised of various grades of PA 610, PA 1010, and PA 1012, each of which differ in their profile of properties and close gaps in the previously available range of properties of polyamides. They are long-lasting, durable, and meet the requirements of demanding applications, for example in the automotive, sports, and textile industries. Typical applications of Vestamid Terra products are injection molding, fibers, powders, extrusion, and films.
FKuR has developed a new technology for the production of compounds which can be processed into flexible packaging films with particularly low thickness and, at the same time, high puncture resistance. The company will be presenting the first two compounds produced on the basis of this new technology - Bio-Flex FX 1120 and Bio-Flex FX 1130. Films made from these materials boast a renewable material content of 50% or higher, depending on the type, and are suitable for food contact. Moreover, they are certified as compostable according to EN 13432. Both FX types of Bio-Flex can be processed on standard processing equipment, in the same way as regular PE, with no adjustments required. Bio-Flex FX 1130 is designed to produce very thin films. Unlike the previous standard compound, Bio-Flex F 1130, which has a paper-like feel to it, the FX grade is characterized by a silkier surface. Films produced with this blend are further characterized by an increased tensile strength, puncture and tear resistance. This enables converters to use less material without compromising the performance characteristics of the film. In practice, it has been proven that film thicknesses of 8 microns are possible. In addition, film manufacturers benefit from high throughputs in extrusion, as well as excellent sealing properties of the material.
Bio-Flex FX 1120 is a new development for film production, and especially targeted at the production of very thin bags, such as bio-waste bags. The increased water resistance, when compared to starch blends, permits a high retention of moisture which is originated during the decomposition of organic products in bio-bags. With a high proportion of renewable raw materials of more than 50%, the Bio-Flex® FX 1120 compound fulfills the requirements of the German Bio-waste Ordinance. Films made from biodegradable resins have reached sufficient performance values with thicknesses of about 15 microns. In practice, the film thicknesses today are between 18 and 26 microns.
At K2016 Croda will present an extensive selection of bio-based building blocks and speciality additives for use in high-end applications. These products offer a wide range of different functionalities alongside high performance properties like:
Royal DSM's innovations include a water faucet mixing valve in a glass-reinforced compound of DSM's EcoPaXX® bio-based PA410, which reduces the risk of part failure and leakage in long-term use while in contact with hot and cold water.
Palsgaard will showcase Einar® - a new range of functional polymer additives that directly address some of the most pressing concerns for todays' polymer business: How to produce safe, efficient and sustainable products with zero concerns over food contact. Entirely produced from vegetable oils such as sustainably sourced palm oils and sunflower oils, Einar® functional agents can eliminate concerns over food contact. The range from Palsgaard comprises a series of products for the masterbatch and polyolefin industry such as antistats and antifogs - all engineered entirely from vegetable oils. Both types of functional additives have been tested and proven to deliver outstanding performance. New vegetable-based dispersing aid for polymers However, the use of bio-based polymer additives reach far beyond food-contact products. Two newly developed dispersing aids for masterbatch production, also based entirely on vegetable oils, have recently been introduced to the market: Einar® 101 and Einar® 103. Dispersing aids are used for distributing colour pigment in polymers, and independent tests have shown that Einar® 101 and Einar® 103 deliver superior performance when measured against industry-standard waxes. The result: increased colour strength and yield and less use of expensive colour pigment.
Wacker is introducing the Vinnex line of additives for bioplastic compounds. Based on polyvinyl acetate, these additives are said to significantly enhance the processing and property profile of biopolyesters or starch blends. Vinnex 2526 reportedly greatly simplifies manufacture of highly transparent, biodegradable PLA and PBS (polybutylene succinate) films, optimizing both melt and bubble stability during extrusion. Blister packs can be produced at lower temperatures and with more uniform thickness distribution. Vinnex 2522, 2523, and 2525 are said to boost processing and heat-sealing properties in paper coating with PLA or PBS. With the aid of these grades, film-coated paper cups can be composted and recycled more readily. Vinnex 8880 is designed to enhance melt flow for injection molding and 3D printing.
The use of bio-plastics in the packaging industry is increasingly gaining in importance. Biodegradability and transparency are key features here. With BYKO2BLOCK-1200, BYK has developed a unique additive, based on a platelet-forming phyllosilicate, for use in foodstuff packaging film. High-performance composites support long-term the current lightweight design developments in the automotive industry. Here, BYK additives, which can be used both in thermoset and in thermoplastic based composite solutions, play a key role.