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Save Costs Using New Processes for Conventional Products

SpecialChem / Dec 28, 2009

Processing costs can bring a broad contribution to lower prices through many ways, by lowering machine run costs, labour costs, direct investments, energy and utility consumptions, finishing costs, assembly, surface treatment, decoration. Processing can't be dissociated from many other parameters such as design, used polymer etc. For example, the use of a new processing method can need the change of the used grade or even of the polymer family perhaps more expensive but allowing to cut down processing costs. The way of modified processing methods using conventional equipment can be chosen thanks to the utilisation of more sophisticated grades of conventional resins allowing to lower energy consumption by enabling processing at lower temperatures, to obtain higher throughput efficiency, to reduce wear costs for conversion equipment as a result of processing with lower pressures, to suppress industrial steps such as curing etc. Alternative processes can be used thanks to alternative materials. For example, the patented LFI (long-fibre injection) process is a cost-effective method of manufacturing lightweight, long glass-fibre reinforced PUR parts competing polyester SMC and spray-up. In another example, a thermoforming machine has been developed to form bottles at rates consistent with a conventional fill and seal line, that is to say 30,000 thermoformed bottles an hour. The concept is claimed to make 50% lighter bottles, saving 50% of the resin. Integration of mechanical and electrical functions in three-dimensional moulded interconnect devices (MIDs by Laser Direct Structuring leads to mechatronic devices for automotive applications, rotary transducers, sensor housings, actuators, control boxes, steering wheel modules and the interconnect devices of locking systems, cell phones... That is made possible thanks to a successful cooperation between equipment makers, processors and resin producers developing special versions of thermoplastics.

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