Dow Elastomers, a business unit of US-based chemical manufacturer The Dow Chemical Company has unveiled what it describes as a "breakthrough compatibilisation technology" that offers a "tuneable range of new-to-the-world, highly effective solutions for combining both non-polar and polar polymers with polypropylene". INTUNE PP-based olefin block copolymers from Dow offer highly effective solutions for combining polyethylene (PE), polyolefin elastomers (POE) and polar materials such as ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) and polyamide (PA) with polypropylene (PP) to provide the best benefits of each material, while minimising individual trade-off properties.
“Truly breakthrough and game-changing innovations like INTUNE PP-based OBCs underscore Dow’s industry-leading material and formulation science capabilities and reinforce our position as the go-to innovator in the plastics industry,” said Kim Ann Mink, Business President, Dow Elastomers, Electrical & Telecommunications, speaking to the world's trade press during a press conference in Dow's two-story demountable business centre, erected in the car park next to Dow's stand at K 2013, on October 17, 2013. “INTUNE will enable us to offer enhanced performance at lower systems cost for customers across a multitude of end-markets, including packaging, consumer durables, transportation, construction, hygiene, and wire and cable, among others.”
The diverse material and formulation options enabled by INTUNE PP-based OBCs create opportunities for unique blends and multi-layer structures that offer tuneable combinations of attributes and enable processors to achieve enhanced performance targets and lower overall systems cost.
“INTUNE PP-based OBCs enable the creation of unique solutions that display the most desired mechanical, chemical and optical properties of PP with PE, POEs and polar materials, fundamentally changing the way the industry thinks about combining polar and non-polar polymers,” said Karen Fennessy-Ketola, Global Director, New Business Development, Dow Elastomers, Electrical & Telecommunications. “As the latest development in Dow’s rich innovation pipeline and the second generation of solutions derived from our proprietary olefin block copolymer technology, INTUNE PP-based OBCs also underscore our ability to continue to deliver groundbreaking solutions for a myriad of applications.”
Polyolefin investment: Shale gas boom and Sadara
During the press conference, Dow also spoke about its investment in polyolefin production around the world, notably on the USA's Gulf Coast and Sadara in the Middle East.
The investment in the USA, in Louisiana and Texas, is to produce EPDM and high melt index elastomers and is in response to the current shale gas boom. The boom has secured plentiful supplies of feedstock ethylene and propylene and Dow said it is proud to be a leading investor in a phenomenon which is widely anticipated to make the USA a net exporter of petrochemicals in the medium term.
Sadara is a joint venture between Dow and energy company Saudi Aramco to manufacture specialty chemicals in Saudi Arabia. Once complete, the plant will be one of the world's largest integrated chemical facilities and the largest ever built in a single phase.
INTUNE is a registered trademark of Dow.
In other news, Dow has expanded the reach of its Health+ range of medical grade polymers to Latin America.
The portfolio is composed of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) for blow-fill-seal (BFS) solutions with the Dow quality standard, which complies with the Six Sigma philosophy to offer a high-level of consistency for all resin lots and throughout the production process.
The portfolio is composed of polymers with different densities, which address the demands of different applications, including containers and ampules that withstand sterilisation temperatures of 110°C, as well as solutions that do not require heat sterilisation.
Product control is crucial to the health industry. Changes in raw materials lead to new product certifications. In this segment, the approval process is complex and lengthy. It demands consistency during product approval and planned modifications when solutions become available to the market.
"HEALTH+ resins are manufactured according to strict specifications, thus assuring quality and consistency. Polymers do not go through changes during development, tests, and certification. In the event that changes or modifications take place, they must be informed in advance through a Change Notice, informing composition, origin, and product phase out," explains Beatriz Goldaracena, Marketing Manager for Hygiene and Health in Latin America.
These resins comply with regulations and are certified according to the demands of some health applications. And, since they're manufactured according to strict good manufacturing practice specifications, they comply with high quality standards.
HEALTH+ LDPE resins also offer other benefits, such as a large window of opportunity for processing, excellent clarity and transparency, high flexibility and mildness, as well as being sterilised through different techniques, including vapor, ETO (ethylene oxide) and gamma.
Also in Latin America, Dow has introduced a new solution to the hygiene and health industries: monomaterial ASPUN resins (100% polyethylene), which can be used in the production of fibers and nonwoven materials applied to hygiene products and disposable medical supplies. The material has been developed with a product's life-cycle in mind—from design to final use—especially from a sustainability stand point.
Made of a single material, this solution complies with all technical requirements that are specific to thread capacity, abrasion resistance, and clean processing, in addition to providing unprecedented smoothness. Besides these benefits, it contributes to thinner layers while preserving the same quality of the final material, thus resulting in lighter, more efficient products
This technology—which is recommended for diapers, hygiene products, and surgical supplies—assures exceptional smoothness, comfort and fitting.
Dow Latin America launched this year a new line of linear resins called DOWLEX HMS, which combines the processability of low density polyethylene (LDPE) with the abuse and sealing properties of low density linear polyethylene (LLDPE), a technology used in the production of linear resins that yields LLDPE resins with unique molecular structure and properties.
This new patented technology used in the production of linear resins is based on a solution that yields LLDPE resins with unique molecular structure and properties, such as higher productivity (kg/h), new functionalities (thermal shrinkage), and potential reduction in thickness.
The first DOWLEX HMS resins are already available to the Latin American market and they can be applied especially to silo bags, agricultural greenhouses, industrial bags, industrial films (liners) and thermal shrinkage applications.
DOWLES is a registered trade mark of Dow.