Free Newsletter
Register for our Free Newsletters
Advanced Composites
Amorphous Metal Structures
Analysis and Simulation
Asbestos and Substitutes
Associations, Research Organisations and Universities
Automation Equipment
Building Materials
Bulk Handling and Storage
CFCs and Substitutes
View All
Other Carouselweb publications
Carousel Web
Defense File
New Materials
Pro Health Zone
Pro Manufacturing Zone
Pro Security Zone
Web Lec
Pro Engineering Zone

Tough compound enhances safety and durability of self-contained breathing apparatus

Sabic Innovative Plastics : 13 December, 2012  (Application Story)
Rescue and HAZMAT workers, fire-fighters and miners depend upon self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) when working in extremely hazardous environments. So when SCBA manufacturer Biomarine needed to improve the impact strength and ability to dissipate static electricity for the external housing of its BioPak 240R Revolution rebreather, it turned to Sabic Innovative Plastics business.

Sabic recommended replacing the existing polycarbonate (PC)-based compound with LNP Faradex compound -  based on Lexan EXL copolymer and features electrically conductive stainless steel fibres. The result is a tougher apparatus housing with excellent electrostatic dissipation (ESD) and greatly enhanced aesthetics.

“The previous material was frequently brittle which often led to part breakage, and there were major inconsistencies in the electrostatic dissipation performance,” said J. Douglas Anderson, vice president, Biomarine. “Because of this we were rejecting entire lots, costing us a lot of time, money and resources. The base copolymer in the Faradex compound gave us 25% higher impact resistance than PC alone, and was compounded in such a way as to support superior electrostatic dissipation performance.”

“People who use Biomarine rebreathers need the highest standards of electrostatic dissipation and impact performance for protection and durability, especially in life-threatening situations,” said David Wildgoose, general manager, Innovative Plastics. “We were able to provide Biomarine with a stronger, more impact-resistant base material in Lexan EXL copolymer, while compounding knowledge allowed us to co-develop a next-generation breathing apparatus for Biomarine that was safer, better and higher performing than the previous model.”

ESD capability is important for rebreathers because it provides a grounding path for any static charge that can build up in a plastic resin, causing potentially deadly sparks. Faraday compound incorporates conductive stainless steel fibres throughout its base material to help dissipate static charges. Because the conductive property permeates the entire part, it helps to provide consistent protection, as the conductivity cannot be disrupted by surface scratches or nicks. As the base material, Lexan EXL copolymer, offers superior impact and low temperature ductility, as well as enhanced processability, compared to standard PC grades. All LNP Faradex compounds are Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliant, and grades based on non-brominated, non-chlorinated and flame retardant systems are available.

Another key attribute of LNP Faradex compound is its ability to be pre-coloured, avoiding the need for secondary painting. This material is also ideal for electromagnetic interference/radio frequency interference (EMI/RFI) shielding applications such as consumer and defense electronics, healthcare and industrial equipment and telecommunications hardware.

Sabic provided extensive technical support to Biomarine and the moulder of the rebreather housing, including recommendations on notch and snap-fit design, adjustments to gates and runners and assistance with colour matching.

Anderson noted, “Since we replaced the previous material with Faradex compound, static dissipation has improved dramatically and the problem of inconsistent incorporation of the stainless steel fibre has gone away. Since we no longer have to worry about bad lots of material or excessive scrap, it’s easier to meet our productivity, quality and cost control objectives. Feedback from our customers has been very good.”

The Biomarine BioPak240R Revolution is a highly advanced, easiest-to-use four-hour rebreather ever offered. With six litres of tidal volume, it delivers very low resistance breathing. A revolutionary, carbon dioxide scrubber design eliminates the need to measure and refill CO2 absorbent and the potential for refilling errors.

Bookmark and Share
Home I Editor's Blog I News by Zone I News by Date I News by Category I Special Reports I Directory I Events I Advertise I Submit Your News I About Us I Guides
   © 2012
Netgains Logo