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Polycarbonate resins meet fire safety regulations for railway interiors

Sabic Innovative Plastics : 20 September, 2012  (Special Report)
Anticipating the implementation of the pan-European norm for fire safety in rail interiors, Sabic has expanded its portfolio of high-performance materials by adding two new polycarbonate sheet products.

These new products include Lexan H6500 sheet, a new PC/acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (PC/ABS) sheet grade that complies with the upcoming CEN/TS 45545 harmonized standard, and Lexan H6200 sheet, a new grade that complies with Germany’s DIN norm.

Based on non-chlorinated and non-brominated flame retardance technology, both products have been engineered to meet growing demand for enhanced sustainability and advanced thermoplastic technologies with that enhance the design and development of rail interior applications.

“To comply with the emerging fire safety norm, rail customers faced the very real prospect of having to replace non-compliant thermoplastics with traditional metal and lower performing thermosets,” said Jack Govers, general manager, Specialty Film & Sheet, Sabic. “But that meant sacrificing the benefits that thermoplastics can provide, such as design freedom, light weight and lower system costs. Our new Lexan sheet products are a great alternative to address these problems by aligning with the new standard.”

Lexan H6500 sheet is an opaque, solid, low-gloss PC/ABS blend that delivers high stiffness for railway sidewalls, tables and seating. Its sustainable flame retardant performance meets the requirements of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive and it delivers non-chlorinated and non-brominated product technology. In addition to CEN/TS 45545 R6 (seating), Lexan H6500 sheet complies with current European standards, including the French NF F16-101 M1F1 norm (at 2-4mm). The material can be thermoformed at a lower temperature than traditional PC materials. Its moulded-in colour capability can help avoid the cost and environmental hazards of secondary painting and provides excellent aesthetics.

Lexan H6200 sheet, which complies with the German DIN 5510 norm (S3 SR2 ST2 at 3mm and S4 SR2 ST2 at 4mm), offers an attractive cost-benefit balance in less-demanding applications such as cladding. It delivers excellent impact performance at low temperatures (ductility down to -20C), good colourability and excellent thermoforming at lower temperatures than standard PC materials.

Compared to metal, thermosets and glass, both new Lexan sheet materials can significantly lower system costs through consolidation of parts to streamline production, avoidance of secondary operations such as painting and coating, machining and polishing, and lower shipping costs by reducing weight.

Sabic also offers an Ultem sheet based on polyetherimide (PEI) resin that features inherent flame retardancy and low smoke emission, complying with the new CEN/TS 45545 standard at the highest level (Hazard Level 3) for R1 applications (requirements for interior components) across all four occupational categories at 3mm.

Lexan H6000 sheet is a high-modulus PC/ABS product that meets French NF F16-101 M1, F2 at 2mm and German DIN 5510 Part 2 S4-SR2 ST2 norms at 3mm and has a UL94 V0 rating at 1.5mm. It provides environmentally responsible flame retardance according the German DIN-VDE 0472 part 815 norm and complies with the Polish norms for side wall and ceiling applications (PN-K-02512, PN-L-02501, PN-K-02505). Potential applications include sidewalls, tables and seating.

Lexan F2000 sheet, available in clear transparent and translucent opal white colors, is a flame retardant, lightweight product that can be an excellent choice for light diffusers and light covers. It offers ease of processing, excellent formability and can help achieve part integration in train ceilings with light diffusers. It complies with CEN/TS 45545 standard for R4 (Requirements for lighting components), German DIN 5510 S4 SR2 ST2 norms at 3mm and French NF F16-101 M2 F2 rating at 2-8mm.

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