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Issue 02/2018

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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1802

Toys New generation of

Toys New generation of toy bricks After one year of development, the Dutch company LUCO TOYS (De Meern, Utrecht, The Netherlands) presents a new generation of its toy bricks: interlocking building blocks made from the wood plastic composite JELUPLAST. The wood composite creates eco-friendly toy bricks that are dimensionally stable and resistant to breakage. Luco Toys thus expands its product range of interlocking wooden bricks and will in future also offer interlocking building bricks made from bioplastic. The idea The industrial designers Roger van der Linden and Chantal Voskuilen have developed the environmentally friendly toy blocks Luco Bricks. Before starting their own business, they worked for Lego, Philips and other companies. It was their son who led them to come up with the idea of interlocking wooden bricks. He loved to create imaginative buildings and creatures from wooden blocks. Since wooden blocks do not interlock, he often shed tears when it was time to tidy the room because it was not possible to move the structures aside without destroying them. The parents sought a solution and carved interlocking toy bricks out of wood so that the structures would remain intact when tidying his room. Their son loved the bricks! That was the most important endurance test for the inventors. Hence, the idea of Luco Bricks was born. The industrial designers developed a total of four toy brick shapes. Then they founded their enterprise Luco Toys to produce and market the building blocks on their own. The new generation After successful entry to the market the designers developed a new generation of toy bricks using Jeluplast bioplastic. The first generation of wooden bricks is made from rubber wood. Wood, like any other natural material, comes with a certain variance. Therefore, Roger and Chantal decided to create a second product range from bioplastic; this is a material that is also eco-friendly, but can be formed more precisely. In the search for a suitable material, the designers paid particular attention to ecofriendliness. In addition, the bioplastic should be easy to process and feature reliable properties. They found what they were looking for in the materials by Jelu (Rosenberg, Germany). In Jeluplast, the company offers a wood plastic composite that combines the advantages of both materials. The plastic content enables the material to be moulded three-dimensionally and adds elasticity to the toy, while the wood lends it rigidity and strength, increasing its resistance to breakage. With their clearly defined properties, the wood fibres allow for reliable adjustment of the material specifications. What Roger van der Linden and Chantal Voskuilen appreciate most in Jeluplast is that it has a look and feel like wood. Development Developing the new toy bricks took about a year. The founders had their Chinese partners conduct the test series. Jeluplast is processed by injection moulding using conventional machines. It quickly became clear that the tolerances of injection-moulded building bricks are smaller and that the bricks will fit together better when interlocked. Moreover, the toy bricks can be manufactured faster and cheaper. In order to achieve an optimal result, the industrial designers are now having their injection moulding tool adapted to Jeluplast for serial production in the Netherlands. In future, Luco Toys will offer its toy bricks in two versions: all four basic shapes will then be available in wood and bioplastic. Luco Bricks are sold in Europe, the USA and Asia. In addition to families, the Dutch company’s customers include schools and daycare centres for children. Jeluplast is supplied in WPC granulate form. Depending on the plastic added, the composite consists up to 100 % of renewable resources. The wood fibre content can range from 50 to 70 %. Jelu only uses fibres from selected types of wood that meet certain criteria, such as having a fixed grain size and being of the same type of wood. The physicalmechanical properties of the material can thus be reliably adjusted to specific values. Only woods from sustainably managed forests (PEFC) are used. MT www.lucotoys.com | www.jelu-werk.com | www.jeluplast.com 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/18] Vol. 13

Material: The Jeluplast bioplastic is free from: • Chlorine • Phenol • Formaldehyde • PVC • Plasticizers The plastic used is optionally: • Polyethylene (PE) from mineral oil • Polyethylene (PE) from sugar cane • Polypropylene (PP) • Thermoplastic starch (TPS) • Polylactide (PLA) Buss Laboratory Kneader MX 30-22 Properties and processing Jeluplast is food-safe and does not pose any risk to health. The material complies with all the parts of the European Toy Safety standard relating to health. The ISO 22196 antimicrobial efficacy test has demonstrated that Jeluplast has a strong antibacterial effect. Jeluplast is suitable for conventional plastics processing machinery and can be used for injection moulding and extrusion as well as compression moulding to produce high-quality toys. The bioplastic can be dyed in a variety of colours. Jelu offers premixed compounds that possess different properties depending on the type and amount of the ingredients. Custom compounds with individually adjustable properties are also possible. Buss Kneader Technology The short H-shaped bricks allow for small constructions and the most imaginative creations. Leading Compounding Technology for heat and shear sensitive plastics For more than 60 years Buss Kneader technology has been the benchmark for continuous preparation of heat and shear sensitive compounds – a respectable track record that predestines this technology for processing biopolymers such as PLA and PHA. The wooden and bioplastic toy bricks can be easily mixed and interlocked into each other – there are no limits to children’s imagination. > Uniform and controlled shear mixing > Extremely low temperature profile > Precise temperature control > High filler loadings Material of the new generation of Luco Bricks: Jeluplast granules consisting of 50 % polypropylene and 50 % softwood fibres. The wood fibres have a length of 500 µm. Buss AG Switzerland www.busscorp.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/18] Vol. 13 21

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