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IXEF Polyarylamide improves performance and lowers sost of structural applications

Solvay Advanced Polymers Llc : 16 September, 2006  (Application Story)
Gas-assist injection molding, a process that uses an inert gas to create one or more hollow channels within an injection-molded plastic part, has been around for well over two decades. Used extensively to make products such as appliance handles and furniture seat backs and frames, GAIM enables manufacturers to cost-effectively make large structural parts that cannot be produced by the standard injection molding process.
Likewise, IXEF polyarylamide compounds produced by Solvay Advanced Polymers, L.L.C. have long been considered a reliable choice for applications requiring high strength and stiffness. Because this material provides an excellent surface finish, even at high glass loadings, it is particularly appealing for structural-type applications where cosmetics are important.

Until recently, however, the process and the product had never teamed up, that is until Wilbert Plastic Services of Broadview, Ill., a market leader in plastic injection molding for both the major appliance and office furniture industries, decided to bring them together.

“The coupling of the GAIM process with IXEF compounds has been very successful,” said Wayne Moore, engineering manager of Wilbert Plastic Services. “When you have a hollow piece with a large cross section, you need a material with a lot of strength and stiffness, and good dimensional stability. IXEF compounds have that. Plus they offer the added advantage of a durable high gloss surface finish.”

“We’re very excited by this new opportunity for IXEF compounds,” said Chris Scarazzo, market development manager for Solvay Advanced Polymers. “By using gas assist injection molding, it is now possible to achieve metal-like part performance at a fraction of the cost.”

For structural applications with high load-carrying requirements, traditional materials include die cast aluminum, long and short glass-filled nylons, and bulk molding compounds. According to Scarazzo, each of these materials have shortcomings: high cost due to secondary operations for die cast aluminum, poor aesthetics and severe mechanical property loss due to moisture absorption for glass-filled nylons, and high scrap rates for bulk molding compounds.

According to Scarazzo, potential applications for the GAIM-IXEF resin duo include office furniture applications, such as seat backs, seat frames, arm rests, and chair bases, as well as handles, hinges, and knobs for major appliances, such as refrigerators and dishwashers.
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