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Push into global electronics industry highlighted by new Lexan EXL resins for portable devices

GE Advanced Materials : 03 March, 2004  (New Product)
New, toughened PC/Siloxane resins offer combinations of UL 94 V-0 and 5V listings, excellent chemical resistance, enhanced UV stability.
In the 51st year since the discovery of Lexan polycarbonate (PC) by GE scientist Dr Daniel W Fox, GE Advanced Materials is once again expanding its product offerings based on this highly versatile resin technology. Two new grades of the companyís toughened Lexan EXL polycarbonate/siloxane resin have been added to the growing resin portfolio: Lexan EXL 9112 resin and Lexan EXL 1434 resin.

These products provide various levels of flame retardancy that help address eco-label needs along with high flow, broad chemical resistance, and enhanced weatherability. They are a potentially strong fit for use in portable electronics, converged devices, telecommunications, and handheld computer applications. The new materials join Lexan EXL 9330 and Lexan EXL 1414 resins, two previously introduced Lexan EXL resin products.

Lexan EXL resins are part of the new X GEN resin portfolio from GE Advanced Materials which pushes high-end polymer performance to even greater levels. Through the use of proprietary siloxane copolymer technology, the new Lexan EXL resins have retained the properties of PC, while extending low-temperature impact strength and cold-temperature ductility. Furthermore, the siloxane softblock in the polycarbonate backbone also imparts improved UV stability. Hence, the polymer can now provide prolonged resistance to weathering and extreme temperature fluctuations (-40 to 100C) without loss of dimensional stability or ductility.

In addition to its good hydrolytic stability, Lexan EXL resin processes well in most conventional injection moulds and exhibits excellent release properties, facilitating shorter cycle times and improved production. Beyond injection moulding, the resin can be extruded or gas-assist injection moulded and is available in a wide range of opaque colours. The materialís high stiffness-per-unit weight can facilitate weight savings and cost reductions through the use of thin-wall designs in such applications as mobile phone charger and personal digital assistant (PDA) accessories. Across the spectrum of applications, from small, thin-wall parts to larger, thicker wall assemblies, it is expected that the new Lexan EXL resin technology will provide significant productivity gains vs. competitive PC materials worldwide.

Lexan EXL resin is an excellent candidate for use in portable electronics, converged devices, handheld computers, telecommunications housings, and other equipment that are subject to repeated exposure and/or handling in outdoor environments. It is also a strong potential fit for applications that must address growing global eco-label demands. Free of chlorine and bromine flame retardants and heavy-metal pigments, the resin meets the stringent tests for flammability and offers other safety-related properties demanded by the telecommunications sector (Telecordia GR-487 requirements), while maintaining polycarbonateís standard ULģ 94 flame-retardant listings.

Of the new grades introduced today, Lexan EXL 9112 resin is now the highest flow, UL 5VA flame-retardant product in GEís Lexan resin portfolio. Because of its excellent balance of properties, the resin was chosen by LG Electronics for use in its new mobile phone battery pack and provides low-temperature impact resistance and excellent aesthetics and knit-line strength. It can be used in most eco-label applications and features colorants that are free of heavy metals. This new high-flow grade can also help to improve processability, reduce cycle time for greater moulding productivity, and is another option to standard flame-retardant Lexan and Cycoloy resins in applications calling for a higher performance material.

Lexan EXL 1434 resin offers customers low-temperature impact resistance, knit-line strength, and enhanced weatherability during prolonged UV exposure in demanding outdoor applications. Selected by the Chamberlain Group for its LiftMaster garage door opener transmitter housing, the material is a good candidate for use in applications requiring exceptional durability, toughness, and colour stability. Moulders can potentially benefit from the materialís excellent processability and cycle-time reduction. The resin is also appropriate for use in other handheld devices exposed to sunlight and the outdoor environment.

Previously introduced Lexan EXL 9330 resin offers improved durability and excellent toughness at cold temperatures in a formulation with a UL 94 V-0 listing for use in various eco-label applications. As with other Lexan EXL resin grades, Lexan EXL 9330 resin also offers improved processing productivity through faster cycle times, quicker mould release, and enhanced flow. It is currently finding increased use in computer terminal applications.

Lexan EXL 1414 resin features improved aesthetics and broad chemical resistance under conditions of elevated heat and humidity and has been specially formulated to help meet the needs of the consumer electronics and telecommunications industries, especially in portable and converged device applications such as cell phones with gaming, PDAs, and camera appearances. As the footprint of these devices becomes smaller and more cramped, and processors become more powerful and generate more heat, resin performance must improve. This product meets this challenge with excellent impact strength in thin walls over a broad temperature range. It also moulds well with low residual stresses and has high knit-line strength, and moulders can potentially benefit from higher flow and cycle time reduction for greater production yield.

In properly designed and processed parts, use of Lexan EXL 1414 resin can lead to an overall decrease in field returns and failures due to drops and breaks along knit lines and over bosses. Its combination of properties convinced Motorola, Inc. to use the new grade for the battery enclosure of its recently launched V300 cell phone. Aside from portable electronics and telecommunications devices, this resin is also a good fit for infrastructure and various consumer-product applications.
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