Process optimization with biopolymers
25 September 2017
In the processing of biopolymers into technically demanding plastic components through injection moulding the processing parameters have to be individually adjusted. In close collaboration with the customer, the suitability of biopolymers for use in cable glands was successfully verified.
Due to sustainability reasons, biopolymers are experiencing growing popularity. However, the application possibilities for the production of technically demanding plastic components have to be assessed in detail. In close collaboration with the customer, Lapp Engineering has investigated the suitability of biopolymers for use in cable glands.
In the processing of biopolymers into cable glands through injection molding the processability of the polymers and the achievable properties play a central role. Since there is only little empirical data for biopolymers available in this area, the suitability has to be tested thoroughly for every particular case. In addition, the processing parameters have to be individually adjusted as compared to those for conventional plastics.
- Processable with standard equipment
- The same cycle time as for the reference material
- Compliance with all customer specifications
First, the processability of selected, commercially available biopolymers was evaluated through studies of the flow parameters and filling trials using simple components. In order to further optimize the properties for the target application, a selected biopolymer was modiefid using the in-house compounding equipment. The preliminary evaluations were complemented with filling simulations.
Subsequently, the specific processing parameters for the components were determined and optimized using sample specimen. The properties of the finished components were tested and compared to the specifications.
Results and Benefit:
The selected biopolymers could be processed in the injection molding equipment without problems. The same cycle times and component quality were reached as for the reference material (conventional plastic). The produced cable glands maintained its full functionality.
This gives the customer the opportunity to expand the existing portfolio with a sustainable product. This not only opens up a new market segment, but also underlines and strengthens the company's innovative capacity.