Solvay SA is at Fakuma 2018 with new grades of polyphenylene sulphide resin and recycled polyamide 6.6.
Three new grades of Ryton-brand PPS are aimed at extrusion applications for the automotive market, Europe automotive area development manager Andreas Lutz said at the event. The new materials "can provide some properties that are highly required in automotive," he added.
The flexibility of the new grades allow them to be used in pipes and tubing. Products made with the new grades can be bent to allow them to adjust to underhood designs, Lutz said.
The new materials can be used for flexible, lightweight coolant lines, brackets and connectors. The grades can compete with polyamide 11, polyamide 12 and metal in those uses, according to Lutz.
Solvay also recently expanded its technology centre in Bollate, Italy, to include extrusion testing equipment for automotive and other markets, senior technical development engineer Rolf Devlieger said. New injection moulding equipment that will allow for moulding of more parts also was installed at the site, he added.
On the recycled polyamide side, Solvay's Technyl 4earth-brand materials are being used by German cleaning technology firm Karcher in spray lances for high-pressure cleaners. Karcher has made more than 1 million of the lances using 30% glass-filled recycled polyamide 6.6 sold under the Technyl 4earth brand.
"There were some technical challenges [for Technyl 4earth] at first, but we solved them and developed new applications," engineering plastics business unit director Bertrand Lousteau said. "We've sold out capacity at our plant in Poland and are looking to debottleneck."
Lousteau added that Solvay is considering the addition of a second plant for 4earth, which is sourced from recycled polyamide 6.6 automotive airbags, which often were made with Solvay's virgin polyamide 6.6 resins.
Also at Fakuma, Solvay was focused on Technyl and Technyl star polyamide grades for e-mobility applications in the automotive market. Applications using the seven grades in this product class include electrified cooling systems, sensors and connectors and high-powered chargers.
Solvay is in the process of selling its polyamide business to plastics and chemicals giant BASF SE. The two firms announced the deal in September 2017, but European regulators may require Solvay to divest parts of the business before the deal can be finalised. These moves are expected to be completed in early 2019.
Brussels-based Solvay makes a wide range of specialty plastics and chemicals. The firm employs almost 27,000 worldwide and posted sales of €10.1bn in 2017.