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Some of the world’s most pressing materials challenges are presenting opportunities for companies to display their environmentally advanced technologies.
(Published on May-June 2006 – JEC Magazine #25)
Environmental standards are becoming stricter in the face of overwhelming evidence of climate change. Companies are looking to make their products more environmentally friendly, and GE Advanced Materials’ Flexible Noryl is one resin that can be used for creating composites that is helping many achieve new requirements for several different applications and regulations.
Helping the automotive industry
As consumers demand ever more sophisticated and feature-loaded vehicles, the global automotive industry faces growing challenges to balance these expectations with space constraints and weight concerns. Every component receives scrutiny to determine if it can be made smaller and lighter (something that is being achieved by using composites) to promote fuel efficiency and performance, and also help fit more content into the space available.
In addition, vehicle manufacturers and suppliers must increasingly consider environmental concerns such as recyclability, as well as overall performance. GE’s Flexible Noryl resin was selected by Delphi Corporation as a wire and cable coating for the company’s vehicle electrical systems, and it can be used for manufacturing many other compositebased applications in automobiles. The resin provides the key properties sought by Delphi Packard Electric, including high temperature and flammability performance, and less size and weight compared to other materials. For example, GE’s Flexible Noryl resin is rated at 110°C while PVC is rated at 85°C and further developments should boost the resin’s rating to 125°C. Using this material to replace traditional cable insulation also helps reduce weight by an average of 25%, helping to address vehicle space limitations.
To help reduce weight in support of better vehicle fuel efficiency, the new Delphi cable utilizes GE’s resin for ultra-thin-wall insulation, which enables smaller wire and cable size. For example, replacing standard 0.4-mm thin-wall cable insulation made of XLPE with 0.2-mm ultra-thin-wall insulation made of Flexible Noryl resin results in a size reduction of approximately 25%. Delphi is validating the use of this resin as insulation on cable as small as 26 gauge (0.13mm2 ).
In addition to meeting the requirement for halogen-free parts, wire coating made with GE’s Flexible Noryl resin helps meet international standards for recyclability, including the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) directive the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) standards and Japan’s Automotive Recycling Law of 2005. This is an important consideration for many companies in the automotive industry.
And why not phones too?
Nokia, a world leader in mobile communications, has chosen GE’s Flexible Noryl polyphenylene oxide (PPO) resin as a replacement for polyvinyl chloride in the cord of a charger that can be used with several of its mobile phone models. GE’s Flexible Noryl resin portfolio of ten grades can be used as a replacement for polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which can halogenleak phthalates (plasticisers) into the environment and form dioxins when burned. All ten grades comply with the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) standard governing specific heavy metals and certain brominated flame retardant (FR) additives. In addition, the material meets the requirements for halogen-free parts and complies with Nokia’s internal restricted substances list. The resin also helps customers comply with Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) requirements by avoiding an additional waste stream from PVC that can add to recycling costs.
GE Advanced Materials provided a total materials solution for the Nokia application: Flexible Noryl WCD891 resin for the wire insulation, WCD801 resin for the wire jacket, and WCP781 resin for the plug and strain relief. In addition, GE Cycoloy CH6410 resin was chosen by Nokia for the charger housing.
“Our Flexible Noryl resins are just one example of the power of the ecomagination initiative – GE’s global investment in environmentally advanced technologies,” said Rob Welland, industry manager Consumer Electronics, GE Advanced Materials. “By providing a viable solution that meets the requirements for halogenleak free parts, these materials help solve tough environmental challenges facing the consumer electronics market. We’re proud to support customers like Nokia in their commitment to a cleaner environment.”
Part of GE Advanced Materials, GE Plastics is a global supplier of plastic resins used in automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics, transportation, performance packaging, construction and telecommunications applications.
The company manufactures and compounds polycarbonate, ABS, SAN, ASA, PPE, PC/ABS, PBT, and PEI resins, as well as the LNP line of high-performance specialty composites.