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Flame-resistant plastic BMC 0204 sets a new benchmark

News International-French

6 Nov 2017

There is a wealth of different types of material to satisfy the various application possibilities for plastic, but also the accompanying standards and regulations.

BMC 0204 is extremely flame retardant and complies with significantly more fire safety standards than any other synthetic material.
Many of them each have one prominent feature, but flaws in their other characteristics. This often leads to several plastics being required in one component. With BMC 0204, Lorenz Kunststoff GmbH has developed a thermosetting plastic which can significantly reduce the range of plastics that must be used. The new material, unique on the market, is not just extremely flame-resistant, but also demonstrates a high number of very good mechanical characteristics and opens up completely new possibilities for the use of plastics.

“Our customers are often faced with the problem that a component must fulfil different standards and regulations”, explains Thomas Lorenz, Managing Director of Lorenz Kunststofftechnik GmbH. “They then need to use various types of plastics, which is laborious and expensive.”

Developed in two years of work in their own laboratory, the plastic experts have found BMC 0204 to be a thermosetting plastic which combines several extraordinary features at the same time and can be used for a wide range of applications. In the UL 94 certification test, a procedure to classify the flammability of plastics by an independent USA-based institution, 0204, with a width of only 0.4mm, achieved the level V0. During the test, an open flame is applied to a sample of the material. Afterwards, the burn-time after removing the flame is graded - for 0204 this was less than ten seconds. "What is really astonishing is not just the very short burn-time, which clearly demonstrates how difficult it is to ignite 0204; above all it is the fact that this is possible with such a thin sample of the material”, Lorenz explains. Even in LOI (Limited Oxygen Index) tests, 0204 performed with top marks and achieved a score of 100 percent - a result which is twice as good as with other plastics which are rated as extremely flame-resistant. This makes the thermosetting plastic at this time the only flame-resistant, injection-mouldable plastic with such a value. In addition, the ball pressure test, where a temperature of 150° C is applied to the material, confirms that 0204 can withstand extreme conditions.

Fulfils EU-Wide Fire Protection Standards for Railway Vehicles
The thermosetting plastic complies with a wealth of fire protection standards and has already received several important European certifications. For example, with I0/F0/M1, it sits at the highest level of the French standard NF F 16-101 for fire protection in railway vehicles. Also during tests for the newly implemented standard EN 45545-2, which is an EU-wide railway standard, BMC 0204 performs at the highest level. HL3 for R1/R5/ R6/R10/R11/R22/R23/R24/R25.

“Producers of small electronic components, such as completely normal light switches, are faced with difficulties due to the fire protection requirements for railway vehicles”, explains Lorenz. “Because in trains, different requirements apply from those which apply for houses, which is why the same plastics cannot be used. As 0204 covers such a large number of standards, however, with its help, only one plastic is required for the series production of components in trains as in buildings.”

Good Flow Value, Low Injection Pressure: 0204 is Suited to the Production of Large-Scale and Delicate Components
With a flow value of at least 1000mm in the flow spiral, BMC 0204 contrasts clearly from other difficult to ignite plastics. “It is very unusual for a flame-resistant plastic to flow so well”, explains Lorenz. “Thanks to this characteristic, the material is suited for the production of large-scale, as well as very delicate components.” Wide fuse strips are just as small of a problem as components for electrical appliances, which must be made as small and accurate as possible. Thanks to the very low injection pressure, 0204 can also be used for the over-moulding of delicate electronic components and sensors. In addition, BMC 0204 has a CTI value of 600 volts. The thermal conductivity of 1.35W/mK is the highest which can be achieved for a standard plastic. Other features include an arc resistance of more than 240 seconds. The material is therefore suitable for applications such as connection boxes, MCBs, fuse strips or household appliances.
In addition, even in extremely low or high temperatures of -30° up to +180° BMC 0204 has an impact resistance of  more than 20 kJ/m². Even with sharp drops in temperature, the plastic keeps its form and remains unbreakable. BMC  0204 can therefore be used in various conditions without any problem and in any temperature region as well. Outdoor connection boxes made from BMC 0204 have an increased lifespan even with variations in temperature, the onset of winter and frost. The thermoset is free of halogen, chloride, cyanide, and bromine- substance. BMC 0204 can also be printed upon or inscribed upon using a laser.

“The sum of all these characteristics makes BMC 0204 into something special”, says Lorenz. There are plastics which display similar individual characteristics, but none which demonstrate such a high flame-resistance with this range of good characteristics combined. “Because it is suitable for more applications than other plastics, the variety of types can be significantly reduced.” It is important to the plastic experts not to distribute some highly-priced niche product: BMC 0204 as a standard plastic is suited to production in high quantities and can be adjusted to suit the production conditions, tailor-made according to the customer’s wishes.