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issue 05/2021

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  • Co2
  • Biocomposites
  • Nonwovens
  • Textiles
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  • Fibres
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Highlights: Fibres, Textiles, Nonwovens Biocomposites Basics: CO2-based plastics

Processing Early

Processing Early collaboration leads to fast mass production application success Utilizing a proprietary Bio-Resin blend, the company Refork (Prague, Czech Republic), injection moulds sustainable single use utensils. The bio-resin material consists of wood flour (primary material sourced as waste from the wood industry), PHA (binder) and various renewable minerals (to enhance mechanical properties). This special blend is fully biodegradable in home compost, soil, or marine environments. Refork utensils include a selection of forks, knives, and spoons. Refork developed their proprietary blend that would be suitable for injection moulding by involving Mold- Masters (Georgetown, Canada) at an early stage. That process involved testing various biopolymers (PLA, PBAT, PHA’s) which would act as the binder. There were several key variables that needed to be achieved for the end product to be a success. This included: • High biodegradability criteria • have good mechanical properties, • be acceptable for food contact, • offer good processability, • be visually appealing (colour/texture), • be suitable for mass production, • higher HDT (Heat Deflection Temperature) point. There were 3 key challenges during the injection moulding process that Refork needed Mold-Masters to overcome: 1. Prevent material degradation (The bio-resin material tended to degrade quickly during the injection process as a result of the biopolymer binders and wood flour). 2. Achieve a consistent cycle time that could be scaled to mass production. 3. Minimize the injection pressure to allow system compatibility on a smaller machine. Mold-Masters supplied several optimized Master- Series hot runner systems (hot halves) depending on the production capacity that was required for each product. This included 48 and 24 drop production hot halves and a 4-drop hot half for R&D testing. Mold-Masters TempMaster M2+ hot runner temperature controllers were also utilized to maintain tight process control. Mold-Masters worked closely with Refork to supply hot runner solutions that allowed them to successfully achieve all of their goals. Not only was Refork able to process their unique material, but Mold-Masters hot runners were able to achieve a consistent cycle time, minimize scrap and decrease the required injection pressure by 500 bars to allow the moulds to be operated with smaller machines. Mold-Masters hot runners are currently used by Refork to produce over 12M Bio- Resin utensils on a monthly basis (151M annually). “For us, mold-masters is more than a supplier, they are a development partner,” Josef Žádník, CEO, Refork. AT | 48 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/21] Vol. 16

100 years of colours – 10 years bio – 100 % climate neutral Deifel, the masterbatch specialist based in Schweinfurt, Germany, is celebrating a double anniversary in 2021, not only does the company turn 100 it has also been involved in masterbatches for bio-polymers for 10 years. And to properly celebrate these two milestones Deifel gave itself a present by reaching 100 % climate neutrality. One central part of this achievement was reached through the Deifel4Climate project that aims to reduce CO 2 emissions. For many years, the focus has been on making business processes and technologies more sustainable. Through many individual measures, the CO 2 balance has already been significantly improved. All relevant CO 2 emissions of the company were recorded: from heating and electricity to business trips and employee travel to office supplies. This made it possible to analyse precisely where the greatest levers lie for reducing emissions. This is also true for Deifel’s masterbatch for bio-polymer range Dei ® Bio. Due to the large number of available “bio” plastics and their different technical properties (including potential biodegradability) and inherent colours, colourists select a suitable carrier material and pigments and develop the masterbatch. In recent years, it has become apparent that the issue of sustainability in terms of the carbon footprint of commercially available bio-polymers is also coming into focus for many global players in consumer goods. For example, petroleum-based biodegradable polymers have a worse carbon footprint than biobased polymers. Deifel has also taken up the challenge and, together with an independent partner, has determined the CO 2 balance for its Dei ® Bio Masterbatches product group in accordance with the guidelines of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHP) and can now offer these to its customers on a 100 % climate-neutral basis. Many brand manufacturers are now taking care to produce their plastic products with as little CO 2 as possible - with the long-term goal of achieving CO 2 neutrality for their products. The climate targets set worldwide and discussions about climate change are now encouraging a broad section of the population to rethink. The entire product group will be supplied climate-neutral with immediate effect – without an additional price surcharge. CO 2 emissions that are currently not yet avoidable are compensated by supporting internationally certified climate protection projects. In addition to avoiding and reducing emissions, this is an important step in holistic climate protection. Deifel will present its new climate-neutral shades from the Dei ® Bio colour range at FAKUMA (12.10.-16.10.21). You can find them in hall A3, booth 3001. AT Additives / Masterbatch bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/21] Vol. 16 49

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