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News

Catalyst system offers benefits for silane PEX heating pipes

Borealis A/S : 13 August, 2004  (New Product)
The Ambicat MB60 catalyst and the BorPEX ME2510 material offer benefits for silane PEX heating pipes.
The Ambicat MB60 catalyst system by Borealis has added a new dimension to the manufacture of silane PEX pipe for domestic hot and cold water pressure pipes. Using the new catalyst, in combination with Borealis’ new base material, BorPEX ME2510, silane crosslinking can be achieved at ambient temperature within a few days for typical plumbing and heating pipes. This represents significant cost and time savings compared with the regular high density (HD)-PEX using a traditional catalyst, where crosslinking cannot be achieved at room temperature in a practical time.

In the silane PEX process, BorPEX ME2510, a grafted compound, is mixed with a catalyst masterbatch during PEX pipe extrusion. Conventional catalyst systems used in the pipe industry have previously been based on tin and this requires post-extrusion treatment with steam or hot water to achieve the specified 65% crosslinking. The post-extrusion process adds significantly to manufacturing cost as it involves an extra production step, and investment in equipment as well as in the space needed to house it.

“We developed Ambicat MB60 to overcome this issue. It’s based on Borealis proprietary Ambicat technology and represents an important advance in crosslinking technology,” says Lorenzo Delorenzi, Borealis’ Vice President Pipe. “It can enable good crosslinking at ambient temperature eliminating the additional cost of post-extrusion treatment associated with conventional silane crosslinking, thereby saving the pipe manufacturer time and money.”

“Complementary to this, we have also introduced the innovative material BorPEX ME2510. This can allow the most flexible silane PEX material to pass full ISO/CEN and DIN requirements for high density PEX pipes. Importantly, this higher flexibility provides the installer with many advantages over other pipe systems enabling him to reduce overall installation time and costs. It also broadens application possibilities to embrace a variety of plumbing pipes, aluminium/multilayer pipes and novel pipeline renovation solutions.”

These benefits are confirmed by our customer Giacomini SpA of Italy, one of the leading European suppliers of heating and air conditioning systems. “For many years installers have asked for a PEX pipe that is soft and easy to install, particularly during the winter when low temperatures make pipe stiff. BorPEX ME2510 and the Ambicat MB60 catalyst have allowed us to answer that request with a pipe offering an excellent flexibility as well as good thermal and mechanical characteristics that exceed the EN ISO 15875 norm. Borealis has helped us to realise the dream of all plumbers – providing a material for PEX, that is both flexible and has high quality characteristics,” says Carlo Quaretta, the company’s Technical Manager.

Uniquely, BorPEX ME2510 in combination with the Ambicat system provides superior crosslinking performance and faster crosslinking speed, even when a conventional catalyst masterbatch is used.

PEX pipes offer excellent mechanical properties and durability. Superior slow crack performance, resistance to rapid crack propagation, and impact strength are characteristics which make them uniquely suitable for certain conditions.

PEX pipes offer high safety for plumbing & heating pipes. Based on recognised industry standards, PEX pipes are designed to offer very long life time. They are not limited by the water quality and the associated pH-value of the water, a problem that is frequently encountered by some non-plastic conventional pipe materials, which can lead to corrosion problems. High-quality PEX pipes are thoroughly tested internally by the pipe manufacturers and assessed by third party test institutes. In addition, PEX pipes show superior mechanical and thermal performance, they show very good resistance to crack propagation and they are not sensitive to notches or scratches, which could occur during pipe installation.

Borealis offers, under the brand name BorPEX, the widest selection of crosslinkable PE pipe resins in the industry. Based on our over 20 years of experience in PEX for pipe applications, the BorPEX grades are especially tailored for each individual crosslinking technology. Some examples include:

• Peroxide cross-linking (PEX-a): Renowned producers of PEX piping systems have been relying for decades on the performance of BorPEX HE1878.

• Silane crosslinking (PEX-b): Has seen the biggest technology advancement due to the innovation capability of Borealis.

• Irradiation cross-linking (PEX-c): Thanks to its excellent long-term performance and ease in production, BorPEX HE2590 is the first choice of PEX pipe converters relying on the irradiation process.
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