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Flexible Noryl resin for wire coating

GE Advanced Materials : 25 March, 2004  (New Product)
Flexible Noryl resin can be a new halogen-free PVC replacement for DC cords and plugs and can reduce costs relative to FR-PE and TPU.
GE Advanced Materials has introduced a new family of flexible Noryl modified-polyphenylene ether (MPPE) resin as an alternative to polyvinyl chloride (PVC), flame-retarded polyethylene (FR-PE), and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) in wire-coating applications for the direct-current (DC) cord and plug segments of the consumer electronics industry.

The new products – Noryl WCD910 and Noryl WCP860 resins – have passed bending-strength tests by charger manufacturers, address eco-label flame-retardant application concerns, and, unlike PVC, contain no halogens, such as chlorine, which can break down into dioxins and toxic, highly acidic gasses when burned. The new GE resins also offer a lower specific gravity than FR-PE and TPU – weight reductions of 20 to 30 percent are achievable – as well as faster extrusion rates for potentially higher productivity and lower systems costs.

Noryl WCD910 and Noryl WCP860 resins address several important needs of the electronics cord/plug segment, particularly the global move away from the use of halogenated compounds toward polymers of less environmental concern. Halogenated compounds, while effective at suppressing fires, typically give off highly acidic gases when they do burn. Hence, Europe and Asia are moving to the use of non-halogenated materials and are also calling for a reduction or elimination of heavy-metal pigments, which also raise environmental concerns. Additionally, there is strong incentive to use polymers that can easily be recycled – both in the plant and at the end-of-component life – which favours thermoplastics over thermosetting polymers. Both materials suppliers and OEMs in these highly competitive segments are extremely interested in opportunities for cost-effective environmental solutions beyond those that currently exist.

The new flexible Noryl resin grades have been designed to help meet these and other changing needs of the electronics, electrical, computing, and telecommunications sectors in a number of ways. They are non-halogenated, contain no heavy-metal pigments, offer broad thermal performance, and are lighter and more flexible than many competitive thermoplastics. Because of their improved rheology, they can process faster for potentially increased productivity and reduced systems costs vs. FR-PE and TPU.

Noryl WCD910 and Noryl WCP860 resins are the first in a new line of MPPE products from GE Advanced Materials specifically developed for wire-coating applications. Noryl WCD910 resin is formulated for use in DC cords, while Noryl WCP860 resin is formulated for use in plug applications. In 2004, GE plans to unveil new halogen-free flame-retardant (VW-1) versions of these materials for applications that require added FR protection.

The new flexible Noryl resin grades are excellent potential candidates for a variety of consumer electronics applications. These include video tape recorder (VTR) cameras; radio/cassette, portable CD, micro-disk (MD), MP3, and DVD players; video/TV games; and sound-system components.

In the global computing segment, the new GE products are expected to be used in plug and cord applications for desktop and notebook computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), faxes, portable personal computers (PPCs), printers, scanners, and digital cameras. In telecommunications, GE anticipates the flexible MPPE resins to make inroads into application areas such as mobile phone accessories and cordless phones.

“The timing is excellent for the launch of these two new products,” said Chisato Suganuma, industry manager, Consumer Electronics - Components, GE Advanced Materials. “With environmental requirements forcing a phase-out of PVC and neither of the current competitive alternatives able to deliver the performance and productivity benefits that manufacturers need to effectively compete on a global scale, our new flexible Noryl resins are one of the few real options available. For higher productivity, lower cost, and lighter weight, and the ability to also meet OEM requirements for exceptional flexural strength, durability, hydrolytic stability, and insulating properties, these new materials virtually stand alone,” Suganuma said.

According to Elly Burghout, Noryl resin product manager, GE Advanced Materials, Noryl WCD910 and Noryl WCP860 resins demonstrate how GE continually meets global demand for products that address highly specific needs. “The electronics industry needed a tough, eco-sensitive resin technology with excellent insulating properties, broad chemical resistance, and superior processability – and there was a huge void in terms of what was available,” Burghout said. “So we stepped back, determined that our modified PPE offered the best balance of properties, and then tailor-made two new products to meet these needs and more. In the process, we created a totally new family of Noryl resins for wire-coating applications. The initial success of these materials has been excellent, and we’re currently looking to translate the products into new areas. Automotive is particularly interesting,” Burghout added.
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