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News

BASF's new PBT with T

BASF Aktiengesellschaft : 09 May, 2006  (New Product)
Just one year after its market introduction, Ultradur High Speed, BASF's new especially easy-flowing PBT (polybutylene terephthalate), has become the company's first engineering plastic to receive the so-called eco-efficiency label. Studies have demonstrated that products made of Ultradur High Speed are considerably more eco-efficient than products made of a standard PBT. The good flowability of this new material not only makes the production of injection-moulded plastic components cheaper but also helps to save energy, thus protecting the environment.
Just one year after its market introduction, Ultradur High Speed, BASF's new especially easy-flowing PBT (polybutylene terephthalate), has become the company's first engineering plastic to receive the so-called eco-efficiency label. Studies have demonstrated that products made of Ultradur High Speed are considerably more eco-efficient than products made of a standard PBT. The good flowability of this new material not only makes the production of injection-moulded plastic components cheaper but also helps to save energy, thus protecting the environment.

The eco-efficiency label is awarded to products or methods that perform better from an environmental and financial standpoint than comparable products or methods. With an eye towards this, the product undergoes an eco-efficiency analysis certified by the German Technical Control Board of Rhineland/Brandenburg in accordance with specified guidelines. The analysis is subsequently submitted for a critical review by an independent third party in accordance with DIN ISO 14040 to 14043. In the case of Ultradur High Speed, it was Professor Hungerbühler of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, who wrote the expert opinion. The eco-efficiency label is then valid for the products examined in the analysis and applies to the customer benefit as defined in the eco-efficiency analysis. The results have to be reviewed once again after three years since the market situation and other boundary conditions might have changed.

Processors benefit from the flowability of Ultradur High Speed, which has been markedly improved by incorporating a nano additive, since the processing temperature as well as the injection and holding pressures in the injection-moulding machine can be lowered. Energy savings of up to 20 percent can be realized here. As an alternative, the cycle time can be reduced by up to 30 percent. The mould can have a simpler design and new parts can have thinner walls, thus saving a considerable amount of material. The number of rejects also drops since it is now easier to fill the mould with this easy-flowing plastic. All in all, this makes Ultradur High Speed the favourable product, both in terms of cost and environmental impact.

In 2005, BASF augmented the eco-efficiency analysis by developing a computer program with which the customer can have the advantage precisely calculated that results from a substitution of standard PBT against Ultradur High Speed under his specific production conditions. This tool is called the eco-efficiency manager and it allows BASF sales personnel to go directly to the customer's premises and perform this calculation.

Every eco-efficiency analysis starts with the definition of a specific customer benefit and of the various alternatives with which this objective can be attained. In the case of Ultradur High Speed 4300 G6, the alternative selected was BASF's standard Ultradur 4300 G6, while the customer benefit, in other words, the application case under consideration, was the production of 1000 injection-moulded parts. Both alternatives then underwent a precise life cycle study. The system boundaries include the production of the plastic from the raw materials, the benefit during the phase of use and the disposal of the part at the end of its life cycle with all the appertaining costs and the environmental impact. The results of such an analysis are presented in a so-called eco-efficiency portfolio, which always shows the more eco-efficient alternatives in the upper right-hand quadrant. The eco-efficiency analysis as an evaluation instrument was developed in 1996 by BASF together with the Roland Berger corporate consultancy firm and it is now being used by the Freiburg Environmental Institute and by the Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research as well as by numerous companies.
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