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Injection Moulding Watch

Injection Moulding Watch bracelets made in Austria Cooperation agreement for biopolymer use In April 2012 an extensive research agreement with the Austrian FFG (a governmnet research body) and the Austrian states of Lower Austria and Carinthia was initiated. Cooperation with the Hirsch watch bracelet manufacturers (Carinthia), NaKu (Lower Austria) and Doraplast (Lower Austria) led to an optimisation of bioplastic technology. The first project, the development of an innovative watch bracelet, mount and fixture, made of biologically, compostable and heat resistant bioplastics, will enter the market in the summer of 2013. The commercially available bioplastics did not meet the basic requirements of the project, so the team had to start right from the beginning with the development of a new material. The company NaKu (short for Natürlicher Kunststoff, i.e. natural plastic) is one of Austria’s pioneers in the field of bioplastics. Its range reaches from special compounds, acquired for higher temperatures, or made of waste materials such as sunflower seed cases, through to product development of items for retail sales or industry. Also NaKu supports its clients with the introduction of the process in the market, which is especially complex in the bioplastic sector. In Austria, NaKu supplies (amongst others) retailer Rewe with special fresh storage bags made of bioplastics. An expansion of the product range into kitchen articles led to shared interests with the company Doraplast. “The NaKu company was recommended to us by one of our long term clients, namely the Hirsch company”, said Franz Sprengnagel, manager of Doraplast. “We already had a wide product range of kitchenware made of traditional plastics. An expansion into the bioplastic sector with the company NaKu was perfectly obvious for us.” As a result, the Biodora or NaKuWare product line emerged. During the process of selecting basic working materials, the maximization of renewable and ecological resources was a crucial factor. Another important factor was the high biocompatibility and therefore the tolerance of lactic acid with the human body. The compostability of our kitchenware was not a real factor. In this way, a kitchen product line with 52 parts was generated, and one which is being extended permanently. The main focus for the kitchen line is the contact between food and plastic. This successful cooperation between the companies NaKu and Doraplast was one of the main reasons for the company Hirsch to start an alliance for their high quality watch bracelets. The first step was the invention of a laser-resistant watch bracelet mount made of bioplastics. 18 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/13] Vol. 8

The world market leader Hirscharmbänder GmbH, with head office in Klagenfurt, is confident that the issue of sustainability has to be actively faced and expanded in different areas during the production process of high quality watch bracelets. Hirsch is known for its pioneering role when it comes to the development of innovative materials, innovative products or innovative sales programmes. Thus they succeeded again and again in obtaining a clear advantage in the sector, true to the slogan “there is nothing that cannot be improved”. The watch bracelet mount, the so called Hirsch Point, is now produced by ABS/PC in the Far East. “The difficulties were, in particular, to combine the different technologies like thin walls for deep flow processes, laser markability and embossed sheet, with natural polymers. There is almost no experience to draw on,” said Johann Zimmermann, manager of company NaKu said. BuilDing a BioBaseD futuRe foR euRoPe At the same time, the production costs had to be reduced while moving production to Europe - a task that is only possible by using a high level of automation. Many principles had to be reviewed and a high number of material tests had to be carried out. The watch bracelet mount will be entering the market in the summer of 2013. The fascinating idea of the NaKu-Doraplast-Hirsch Cooperation is the investigation and introduction of a product line that is sustainable at all levels. The actual successes has convinced all project partners that the Hirsch bracelet mount will not be the last mutual project. More products are already in progress. MT Laser markability Register now! 10 / 11 December 2013 InterContinental Berlin More information is available at: Phone: +49 (0)30 28 48 23 50 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/13] Vol. 8 19

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