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Consumer Electronics

Consumer Electronics Durable plastic for mobile devices Among the major bioplastics polylactic acid (PLA) attracts the developer by its wide potential for use in various applications such as injection, extrusion, blow moulding, fibres/textiles, and even foaming. However, it’s rather weak heat resistance blocks its way, to a certain extent, in the field of engineering plastics but holds a strong position mainly in the field of disposables, or within a room temperature environment. By adding reinforcing fibres or other fillers it may improve PLA’s heat resistance, but the resulting blends still suffer from longer cycle times, especially in the field of injection moulding. Moreover, the dimensional stability, which might affect the assembly process, is another problem related to its slow crystallization rate. By properly introducing PDLA (poly-D-lactide) into PLLA (poly- L-lactide), the SUPLA 155 not only has an HDT superior to ABS with similar mechanical properties but also has an acceptable cycle time. Suplas was honoured that the AIO/PC (all-in-one 21.5” Kuender touch screen PC, made of the Supla 155), was awarded second prize at the 8 th Bioplastics Award in 2013 by the successful application in high-end electronics. For further adaptation into personal mobile communication devices, Supla have developed a new grade of modified PLA not only to meet the requirements of durability, ease of manufacture and assembly, and shock resistance but also has an anti-bacterial property. With the lactide from Corbion (Purac), Supla has PLLA and PDLA polymerized at the Sulzer PLA unit. Based on these materials of high optical purity, Supla developed Supla 158 in 2014, responding to a new market for mobile consumer electronics. Kuender, an expert in injection molding for electronics housings, has applied Supla 158 to the kid’s cell phone for Dikon Information Technology (shanghai) Co, Ltd., who have been authorized by a famous cartoon rights owner. The design of this product, mentioned in this article, is still confidential before the formal launch. In addition to the kid’s cell phone, a 10” Pad (Fig. 1), the MIFI (Fig. 2), a mobile power charger with wireless router, will be launched by Kuender under the Ecotrend brand by the end of this year, using Supla 158 as the material for the outer housing. Supla 158 has physical properties to meet the requirements for tensile strength of 45-55 MPa, elongation at breakage of 15-20 %, impact strength of 30-50 J/m and HDT/B of 135‐145 °C. Moreover, since such devices are usually held between the hand and the mouth, the reduced bacterial activity on the surface makes it safer for the user. To answer the special need of this market, Supla 158 also features anti-bacterial properties with regard to the antibacterial ratio of coli and aureus respectively (99.2 % and 99.6 %). Supla (SuQian) New Materials Co. Ltd. has a production capacity of 10,000 tonnes per annum for PLA polymerization and will have additional compounding lines by the end of 2014 at SuQian, China. It offers eco-friendly high performance plastics derived from green plants, which could be processed by current manufacturing machines without major changes. Fig.2: Eco-trend MIFI By: Robin Wu Chairman Supla (SuQian) New Material Co. Ltd. Jiangsu, China Fig.1: Antibacterial Pad 42 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/14] Vol. 9

Consumer Electronics Biobased high-performance Polyamides for mobile healthcare electronic devices Solvay Specialty Polymers (the Solvay Group headquartered in Brussels, Belgium) recently introduced a new family of Kalix ® high-performance polyamides (HPPAs) for structural components used in mobile healthcare (mHealth) electronic devices. The new products include among others also biobased Kalix HPPAs. They deliver exceptional strength, stiffness, and significantly improved chemical resistance versus traditional polycarbonate (PC) or PC/ acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) materials typically used for covers and housings for mHealth electronic devices. The new Kalix HPPAs – first launched for smart mobile electronics at K 2013 in Germany last October – are a unique offering targeted for frames and covers for healthcare displays, terminals, and modules along with chassis, housings, and bezels for mHealth devices. “This material introduction strengthens our commitment to both the healthcare and mobile electronics industries,” said Maria Gallahue- Worl, global healthcare business manager for Solvay Specialty Polymers. “We’ve leveraged our extensive know-how in polymer technology and our long-term presence in healthcare to give our customers a competitive edge in meeting their end-use requirements.” With the introduction of a new portfolio of biobased HPPAs for healthcare OEMs Solvay wants to incorporate renewable, biobased polymers for mHealth devices. This includes the Kalix HPPA 3000 series, the first biobased amorphous PPA, and the Kalix 2000 series, a family of biosourced PPA grades that provide outstanding impact resistance. According to Gallahue-Worl, the company’s expanded portfolio of biobased PAs is driven by environmentally-conscious medical manufacturers who are continually striving for more sustainable alternatives. The Kalix 3000 series breaks new ground as the industry’s first biobased amorphous PPA. The two new grades – Kalix 3850 and Kalix 3950 – provide less warp, reduced shrinkage, and low to no flash. This improved processability results in tighter dimensional tolerances and more cost-effective manufacturing due to fewer secondary operations such as deflashing. Both compounded grades consist of 16 % renewable content, according to the ASTM D6866 test method for determining biobased carbon content. Meanwhile, the new Kalix 2000 series, based on PA 6.10, consists of Kalix 2855 and Kalix 2955. They provide strong mechanical properties, high impact strength, an exceptional surface finish, and low moisture absorption. These two compounded grades consist of 27 % renewable content according to ASTM D6866. Both the Kalix 2000 and 3000 series contain monomers that come from the sebacic acid chain which is derived from non-food competing and GMO-free castor oil. Overall, in addition to their renewable content, the grades (between 50-55 % glass fiber loading) provide greater strength and stiffness than most competing glass-reinforced materials including high-performance PAs and lower-performing engineering plastics such as PC. Both the Kalix 2000 and 3000 series offer an ultra-smoth surface finish. Along with Kalix 5950 HFFR, they can be matched to a wide range of colors including the bright and light colors used for mHealth electronic devices. They can also be painted with existing coatings commonly used for these devices. The new Kalix HPPA materials are available globally and Solvay is currently seeking qualifications with leading manufacturers of mHealth electronic devices. MT Photo just as an example. No pictures from Solvay available (shutterstock / Piotr Marcinski) bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/14] Vol. 9 43

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