To provide electrical device and connector manufacturers with a lower-cost alternative to traditional materials like thermosets or special high heat polymers, while delivering excellent short-term heat performance, SABIC Innovative Plastics today announced new Xtreme LNP* Starflam* specialty compounds. These polyamide (PA)-based materials, can reduce system costs by up to 20 percent vs. thermosets via increased production yields and decreased molding cycle times.
The new Xtreme LNP Starflam compounds, including halogen-free flame retardant (FR) grades, are ideal for demanding electrical applications such as contactors and circuit protection equipment. This technology can offer a solution for the high temperatures encountered in the lead-free soldering processes that the electrical and electronics industry is forced to use under the RoHS directive. SABIC Innovative Plastics’ investment in new high-performance and eco-responsible materials enables the company to help customers optimize application development.
In a mature industry driven by globalization and strong competition, system costs are a major point of interest. In high heat environments like arch quenching or lead-free soldering, producers are usually forced to use thermosets with their higher processing (molding) costs or more expensive high heat materials. Xtreme LNP Starflam PA’s can be an excellent lower cost alternative in these kinds of applications.
“To help our customers design electrical applications that can withstand the harsh environments of electrical arcs or high temperature soldering against better cost position, we have created this new and exciting technology,” said Arthur van Dijk, Electrical and Lighting industry manager, SABIC Innovative Plastics. “The Xtreme LNP Starflam compounds combine the typical advantages with regards to easy processing and good electrical and mechanical properties of polyamide with the short term heat performance of high heat polymers and thermosets at lower costs. Better production yields, like being able to regrind the sprue and the more stable and faster molding cycle times more than make up for the added costs of the E-beam radiation step that is required after molding to boost the heat performance. We expect these products to be widely adopted for demanding electrical applications as well as for connectors that are subjected to the stress of lead-free soldering.”
Enhancing the Advantages of Polyamide
The Xtreme LNP Starflam compounds are based on a technology that forms chemical bonds between the PA macromolecules under E-beam radiation. After irradiation the material is able to withstand exposure to temperatures decades higher than standard PA. Where a standard PA would melt or deform, Xtreme LNP Starflam maintains its rigidity and mechanical integrity.
Four New Grades Target Different Requirements
The four new LNP Starflam compounds include two grades featuring non-brominated, non-chlorinated flame retardants for compliance with such environmental regulations as the EU’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directives, and other eco labels. The other two non-FR grades offer excellent mechanical properties, ductility, and softness.
The one-granule solution from SABIC Innovative Plastics results in good part-to-part consistency with respect to properties and color. For medium and dark colors this allows proactive color adjustment to compensate for possible discoloration due to radiation. A planned color change can also help in signaling whether parts have been irradiated.
Same Tools as Traditional Grades
The new Xtreme LNP Starflam compounds provide mechanical properties, part weight, and design freedom similar to those of standard polyamides. They can be processed in the same tools as the equivalent traditional grade and use standard E-beam radiation technology – the same that is used for medical device sterilization. The one-granule solution of the Xtreme LNP Starflam series offers excellent part-to-part consistency in both properties and color.
Applications for the flame-retardant grades of the Xtreme LNP Starflam compounds include internals for contactors, internals for miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) and molded case circuit breakers (MCCBs), connectors for electronics, and virtually any small or medium-size part that is subjected to short-term temperatures above the melting point of polyamide. The non-FR grades are excellent candidates for under the hood automotive applications or parts in HVAC equipment.
New Xtreme LNP Starflam specialty compounds are available globally.