Cologne – Specialty chemicals company LANXESS will be presenting its portfolio of high-performance plastics for the electrical and electronics industries at the “Light + Building” industry fair in Frankfurt, Germany. The focal points of this year’s appearance are on particularly easily flowing compounds for the cost-effective production of finely structured, thin-walled components and highly flame-retardant polyester blends with a reduced tendency to warp for complex and large housing components. A further emphasis will be placed on non-reinforced compounds based on polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) as an alternative to amorphous thermoplastics for switches.

“As one of the world’s leading industry fairs for lighting and electrical technologies and residential and commercial building automation, it offers ideal opportunities for presenting the latest developments in our Durethan polyamide and Pocan polyester ranges to international partners in the electrical, electronics and lighting industries, and for intensifying customer relations,” explains Marc Marbach, head of the E&E sales segment of the LANXESS High Performance Materials business unit. Considerable emphasis is also being placed on “HiAnt”, the comprehensive portfolio of services specially tailored to meet the needs of the electrical and electronics industries. As Marbach reports, “We will also be presenting a broad spectrum of engineering plastics that satisfy the worldwide standards and tests of the electrical and electronics industries, for instance with regard to flame-retardant properties or electrical behavior.”

Significantly shorter cycle times

Easy-flowing thermoplastics are in great demand due to their significant advantages against standard materials with regard to processing, production costs, and freedom of design. They are particularly suitable for cost-effective lightweight design and the miniaturization of assemblies. Just what savings can be made is illustrated by the example of a switching lock circuit board made from Pocan B3235XF. The easy-flowing PBT compound enabled a 30 percent reduction of the cycle time. Marbach: “We will be showing an inverter housing made from Durethan BG30XFN01 at the fair. Reinforced with glass fibers and glass micro-beads, the halogen-free, flame-protected polyamide 6 exhibits not only an outstanding flowability, but also possesses an extremely low tendency to warp.”

Low tendency to warp and excellent flame-retardant properties

Pocan AF4120 and AF4130 are polyester blends developed for large-scale housing components. They are based on PBT and ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate), show an extremely low tendency to warp and achieve the best classification of V-0 (0.4 and 0.75 millimeters) in the UL 94 flammability tests of the US testing institution Underwriters Laboratories Inc. In addition, they produce good and simultaneously low-emission surfaces (VDA 278). In applications, they also satisfy the requirements of weathering tests according to ISO 4892-3 due to their resistance to light and moisture. This means that components do not need separate coating with costly UV-protection systems. Possible, in some cases already implemented applications, are housings for battery cells, mechanically-loaded connectors and geometrically complex, large housings for electronic circuitry such as battery management systems.

Alternative to PC and PC+ABS

A promising new field of use for non-reinforced PBT is for switch housings. This plastic fulfills the strict demands with respect to surface quality, color stability, surface quality, dimensional stability, resistance to chemicals and heat, and simultaneously possesses very good mechanical properties. Due to cost factors, switch housings have up to now been predominantly made from amorphous thermoplastics such as PC (polycarbonate) and PC+ABS (polycarbonate + acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) blends. “Non-reinforced PBT is now becoming a viable, cost-effective alternative. At the fair, we will be getting together with potential customers to sound out its potentials,” explains Marbach.

Tailor made for LED technology

The halogen-free, flame retardant Pocan BFN6410 is a product highlight especially for LEDs and other lighting technologies. Its light reflection of more than 94 percent at 450 nanometers is unusually high. It also possesses high stability against blue light and high light impermeability, even with low wall thicknesses. Additional advantages are its good mechanical behavior and low tendency to warp. This PBT compound achieves V-0 rating (0.75 millimeters), the best classification in UL 94 flammability tests.

HiAnt – service that pays dividends for customers

The services of the LANXESS package by the name of “HiAnt” cover the entire development chain of a component. Selected services relevant to the electrical and electronics industries are, for example, testing of the corrosion behavior of flame-retardant additives in contact with metals or standards-compliant performance of important flammability tests, for instance glow wire testing according to IEC 60695-2-13 or UL 94 flammability tests. Other services offered are electrical tests such as the determination of the dielectric strength in accordance with IEC 60243-1. Marbach: “In addition to filling simulation, CAE computations and the development of applications and processes at the customer’s site, we also offer a special simulation tool for the plastic suited design of heat dissipating components that takes factors such as component geometry, installation situation, heat input, and air convection around a component into account.”