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Great Lakes delivers solutions and real cost savings with lines of polymer additives blends

Great Lakes Chemical Corporation : 01 January, 2000  (Technical Article)
Great Lakes Chemical Corporation offers a safer and more cost-effective alternative to powder and liquid polymer additives through their patented custom, pre-mixed blends.
Great Lakes is a recognised leader in blends technology due largely to its Anox NDB (No Dust Blend) polymer stabiliser and Fyrebloc, 100% active, flame retardant blends. Great Lakes’ patented blends technology creates products that are cleaner, easier, and safer to handle resulting in lower processing and operational costs.

Great Lakes delivers value-added, working solutions by providing a pre-mixed additive that takes the place of several individual additives. The custom blend is incorporated in the polymer mix in the same manner as separate additives, yet it is accomplished in one simple, accurate addition. The Anox NDB mix can incorporate antioxidants, UV stabilisers, as well as third party additives into a single, specialised blend. The Fyrebloc range combines antimony oxide and flame retardants in granule or pellet form. These ready-to-go blends offer enormous benefits to the customer, which can translate to real cost savings.

In today’s competitive environment, polymer manufacturers look for every opportunity to lower their production costs, particularly by negotiating with suppliers regarding product price, rebates, packaging, and logistics. Great Lakes’ additive solutions are another area where polymer producers can impact their bottom line. Pre-mixed blends offer added value by increasing productivity, improving workplace health and safety, reducing costs, and improving product quality.

Increased productivity: The low-dust form of the free flowing NDB pellet allows faster cleandown between grade changes, ease of handling, and reduced down time due to inaccurate feeding or dust related issues such as blockage of feed pipes. The entire additive handling process from supply to polymer manufacture is significantly simplified, particularly due to the ability to introduce additives often considered “difficult” into the pre-mixed blend.

Another advantage of the NDB form is the “alloy effect”, which can be achieved when polymer additives are combined in one blend offering superior features due to additive synergies. This effect improves the dispersion and homogeneity of the polymer while increasing productivity and reducing costs. And, since Anox NDB and Fyrebloc blend compositions are guaranteed, quality control is more accurate and less time consuming since polymer manufacturers must check only a single additive opposed to up to four separate additives.

Improved Workplace Health and Safety: Anox NDB and Fyrebloc are low dust products with high abrasion resistance and good flow properties. The consequent reduction in dust allows customers to enjoy a cleaner working environment, much lower exposure to airborne hazardous materials, and a reduced risk of explosion.

Reducing Costs: In addition to the cost benefits associated with increased productivity and improved workplace health and safety, even greater cost savings are possible due to the use of only one feeder as opposed to the number of feeders necessary when introducing several, independent additives. By removing several steps from the processing operation, energy costs are also reduced. The low dust nature of the pelletised blend results in a minimal amount of product lost into the air extraction system, and waste disposal costs are also lower. In addition, a customised blend reduces the number of suppliers needed and limits storage requirements.

Improved Product Quality: Product quality is positively impacted since the low dust feature of the blend reduces the risk of additive cross-contamination. Using homogenous, consistent composition pellets increases the feed accuracy and greatly reduces the risk of over- or under-dosing associated with multiple additives.

Anox NDB Case Study

Achieving a high level of dispersion and homogeneity of additives in a polymer is often dependent upon introducing additives that are either soluble in the polymer or whose melting points are similar to or lower than the polymer processing temperature. If the additive melting point is too high, questions relating to its incorporation and dispersion in the polymer are raised. Anox NDB and the resulting alloy effect, which results when additives are blended together, can alleviate the problems associated with melting point.

For example, Anox 330, Great Lakes’ newly launched, phenolic antioxidant for polyolefins and other polymers, has a melting point of over 240C, which is high enough to restrict incorporation into some polymers. The melting point can be reduced to below 180C by taking advantage of the alloy effect created by combining the Anox 330 antioxidant with a process stabiliser such as Great Lakes Alkanox 240, which has a melting point of just less than 190C, into a NDB.

This pelletised blend provides the polymer manufacturer a value-added solution that allows for easy incorporation of a difficult additive with a good dispersion rate. Such innovative blends now make the application range for certain additives even broader.

Fyrebloc Case Study

A common polypropylene (PP) production process incorporating a flame retardant includes a compounder feeding antimony (ATO) concentrate, a brominated flame retardant (such as Great Lakes PE68), and polypropylene to make a PP concentrate. The resulting concentrate is then fed together with PP and pigments into a final compound. This process includes the purchase and handling of two flame retardant (FR) components, the use of six independent feeders, three processing steps (ATO concentrate, FR concentrate and FR compound), as well as the resultant cost, quality, and risks associated with sourcing and use of several powder components.

Using a Great Lakes’ value-added, Fyrebloc blend, the manufacturer could reduce processing steps from three to just one, resulting in a streamlined operation that requires less plant space. In addition, the Fyrebloc blend reduces labour, energy, waste, and maintenance costs, while improving handling and dosing. And, using one flame retardant blend instead of two independent products limits dust loss.

Great Lakes is committed to the ongoing development of blend technology, and working together with our customers, we continue to create innovative, synergistic blends, which offer real value to the polymer manufacturer. The attached table summarises the features and benefits of blend technology.

ANOX NDB is a complete family of homogeneous blends of polymer stabilisers incorporated into a free flowing, dust-free, mechanically resistant physical form. Great Lakes’ No Dust Blends (NDB) are custom-made blends manufactured in accordance with customer specifications. Anox NDB technology is found in many plastic items that are used in every day life, such as automotive bumpers, polypropylene fibres, rotomoulded children’s toys, polyethylene crates, and garden furniture.

Fyrebloc blends contain flame retardant synergists dispersed in flame retardant carriers. Fyrebloc offers the customer the flexibility to adjust the ratio of flame retardants and synergists, or the option to select blends containing the prescribed use ratio of flame retardants and synergists for easy incorporation in the polymer. Fyrebloc pellets are available in both standard and customer specific formulations. Fyrebloc technology is used in items such as electrical connectors, computer housings, television cabinetry, and expanded polystyrene.
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