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High modulus polyamide 6 grade challenges 66 alternatives

DSM Engineering Plastics (Sittard) : 24 June, 2004  (New Product)
DSM Engineering Plastics is introducing a new high modulus, high finish Akulon Ultraflow K-FG0 polyamide 6 grade which is lighter, moulds more quickly and costs 25% less than PA66.
Akulon Ultraflow K-FG0 polyamide 6 (PA6) resin from DSM Engineering Plastics is a new high-flow grade with 50% glass-fibre reinforcement, combining high modulus with improved aesthetics. The new Akulon Ultraflow grade can achieve significant part cost reduction vs. conventional PA6 and PA66 grades, for example, through possible cycle time reduction, less material usage, and elimination of painting moulded parts.

Akulon Ultraflow K-FG0 was recently selected by a major European moulder to replace a competing polyamide 6,6 (PA66) compound in an automotive seat back adjuster handle. The new handle with Akulon Ultraflow exhibits good surface finish and is 14% lighter, is made in a 22% shorter cycle time, and costs 25% less than the PA66 part. The replaced part needed a metal insert to achieve acceptable stiffness, whereas the seat adjuster handle made with high-modulus Akulon Ultraflow K-FG0 requires no insert.

Moreover, no modification of the original mould was necessary, as the part with Akulon Ultraflow did not call for the addition of ribs or other reinforcing geometry due to the high flow even at a much higher loading than the PA66 part.

The good surface finish of DSM’s new highly reinforced formulation is achieved through better wetting-out of the glass fibres. “Even with 50% glass-fibre loading, the new Akulon Ultraflow grade maintains a gloss finish, making it excellent for parts where excellent surface appearance is important or painting can be eliminated,” said Ton Willemsen, Akulon application development and technical manager for DSM. “In contrast, the surface of PA66 grades begins to deteriorate at 30% glass-fibre content, possibly requiring painting. Already at 30% loading, PA66’s modulus is too low for applications demanding superior stiffness, requiring the added processing and weight cost of metal inserts.”

Akulon Ultraflow K-FG0 is available in black and natural. The material’s good flow in the mould allows the production of intricate parts or parts with small details, without significant loss of stiffness and strength. This flow behaviour can also result in lower injection and clamping forces, further reducing long-range production and tooling costs. Crystallisation is also faster with the new material compared to PA66 alternatives, contributing to shorter cycle times.

The Akulon Ultraflow family provides up to 80% greater flow and up to 40% cycle time reduction in injection moulding when compared to standard PA6 or PA66 grades, with no significant loss of mechanical properties.

Akulon Ultraflow offers greater design freedom; for example, thin-wall and high-appearance items benefit especially from Akulon Ultraflow, owing to better surface quality and lower moulded-in warpage and other internal stresses. Due to the excellent flow the possibility opens to design tools with more cavities per tool.

In addition to K-FG0, the DSM Akulon Ultraflow is available in neat; high stiffness (30-40% glass); and highest stiffness formulations (>50% glass), as well as glass/mineral formulations.

Typical applications include under-bonnet automotive components and assemblies including air cleaners, intake manifolds and engine covers; automotive appearance items such as door handles; electrical components such as connectors, junction boxes, and terminal blocks; power tool and lawn and garden enclosures and housings; a wide variety of sports equipment, including ski bindings, and inline skates; and a broad range of appliance and building and construction applications.
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