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Keeping cool at the summer Olympics

GE Advanced Materials : 17 August, 2004  (Application Story)
Tecumseh Europe chose GE
Tecumseh Europe, a specialist refrigeration system supplier, and Frigoglass, a specialist supplier of cold drink machines, chose Noryl EEF 2110 resin as the key material for a new refrigerated vending machine that went fully commercial in summer 2004, with a debut at the Athens Summer Olympics.

The design concept for the vending machine refrigeration system is completely new. The refrigeration module incorporating components such as the compressor and condenser is installed at the bottom of the vending machine. It can then be installed or removed similar to any plug-in peripheral unit, bringing a dramatic difference to maintenance requirements compared with current machines, which have some components at the bottom of the unit and others at the top, connected by pipes and cables. Using the new design, maintenance can take place without interrupting vending operations.

High-pressure components of the refrigeration system need to be insulated from the low-pressure parts supplying the cooling environment. The Noryl EEF resin is used in a two-part moulded, foam box that fits around the compressor and the other high-pressure units. Noryl EEF resin is an expandable grade of the modified PPO and polystyrene high performance polymer supplied by GE Advanced Materials.

Noryl EEF2110 resin offers several key benefits when compared to conventional expandable polystyrene. It offers an eco friendly, flame retardancy, achieved without the need for halogen-flame retardants. The halogen-free flame retardant solution provides an added benefit in that it has the potential to greatly simplify recycling requirements. Increased thermal stability allows use up to 110C. In addition, this resin offers greater stiffness across the in-service temperature range.

“Finding a material that was eco friendly and could insulate the refrigeration components was a very important part of the development process,” explains Olivier Bel, design and development manager of Tecumseh’s refrigeration group. “The part needs to have good insulation characteristics at a low thickness, and at as low a cost as possible.”

The Noryl EEF resin expandable beads are moulded in a three-stage operation on the same equipment used for EPS and EPP. The Noryl EEF resin range also includes non-FR grade such as Noryl EEF2100 resin. Noryl EEF resin beads provide tailor-made, cost-effective design solutions for applications that demand high-energy absorption, temperature-resistance and a lighter typical weight. This versatility opens up a wide variety of application opportunities including interior and exterior automotive functionality, HVAC insulation systems, helmets and performance packaging.

“The foamed components have an extremely complicated shape with a complex design geometry,” said Bel. “This concept would not have been possible with traditional EPS. Only Noryl EEF expandable resin could provide the material requirements and design freedom for our new application.”
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