New Water-Based Coating Resolves Environmental Challenges Amongst Manufacturers

The apex of sustainability is the balance of environmental solutions and business needs. Using a unique water-based process, HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions from The Dow Chemical Company are designed to strike that balance by helping address environmental issues across a variety of industries – without compromising performance.

“Dow’s growth and innovation engine is continually developing new technologies to address sustainability issues, while advancing customer demands for performance,” said Frank Buschky, business development manager. “HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions are a perfect solution for manufacturers who are looking to decrease the impact their processes and products have on the environment – in ways never realized before.”

HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions are the first family of products enabled by BLUEWAVE™ Technology, which has been developed by Dow to expand the world of water-based coatings. BLUEWAVE™ Technology allows for the creation of customized binder and emulsion solutions.

HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions put high molecular weight polyolefins into a water-based dispersion to help users create differentiated emulsions or structures, simplify processes, address solvent-related issues and lower system costs. HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions help manufacturers create differentiated products while addressing environmental concerns in areas such as use of solvents, resource reduction and recyclability. This new technology is already having an impact on several key industries including carpet, paper and packaging.

Carpet Backing

HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions take sustainability to the next level in multiple applications including modular carpet, broadloom, thermo-moldable products and artificial turf allowing carpet manufacturers to apply a thermoplastic backing, rather than a latex backing, while still using conventional coating equipment.

Unlike many traditional latex carpet backing technologies that are thermosets, HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions are thermoplastic which tends to be more compatible with carpet fibers and can facilitate easier recycling at the end of the carpet’s life.

Thermoplastic backings also use less material, which may help preserve resources and energy and result in a lighter weight carpeting. A lighter weight product typically requires less cost and fuel for shipping and allows for easier installation. Once installed, carpet backing made with HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions emits low odor and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

“In many commercial broadloom applications, HYPOD Polyolefin Dispersions require about 20 percent less material per unit of carpeting, facilitates easier recycling, has excellent physical properties and provides differentiation in the marketplace,” said Todd Crook, global marketing manager, Dow Carpet Latex. “Introducing olefinic performance benefits into a traditional latex application not only enhances the performance of the carpet backing, but also gives our customers additional design flexibility as they develop new carpet systems.

Paper and Paperboard

For the paper industry, HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions offer sustainable solutions by enabling barrier coatings that address environmental concerns associated with traditional barrier solutions, including lower coating weight, and adhesion to both polar and non-polar surfaces. With HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions, paper manufacturers can achieve thinner coatings using existing water-based equipment, compared with extruded coatings, minimizing the need for investment in costly extruders or film lamination. The overall result is lower material usage and lower production costs.

By realizing a reduction in materials (up to 90 percent in some cases), manufacturers may garner important savings in resources and costs. Because HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions can be applied to paper in layers as low as one micron, they can even be used in applications requiring a thin barrier layer – in sugar bags for example. Plus they offer manufacturers a water-borne solution that without perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) added, is an ideal choice for applications where oil and grease resistance is required (for example, food wrappers and popcorn bags).

By reducing the amount of plastic film applied during the coating process, HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions allow for the development of paper products that use less material. This is a key issue for product packaging sold at some large retailers that aim to reduce packaging and the impact that they and their suppliers have on solid waste and energy expenditures.

Plasticizer-Free Solutions (Chlorine-free)

Consumer and regulatory pressure is restricting the applications where polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can be used and the plasticizers that can be incorporated. Such restrictions are forcing PVC users to make expensive changes, from using plasticizer alternatives to investing capital to convert to other processes such as extrusion. Without adding plasticizers or chlorine, HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions offer multiple industries, including packaging, textiles and healthcare, an environmentally friendly alternative that can be used with existing plastisol converting equipment, without compromising the quality of the end-product.

“Manufacturers no longer have to choose between sustainability and other performance properties,” said Frank Buschky. “HYPOD™ Polyolefin Dispersions allow them to combine traditionally contradictory properties like high heat and low viscosity, while improving the environmental aspects of their processes and products. The result is a greener way of doing business that helps create growth for manufacturers in many industries.”

At Dow, balancing sustainability and product performance is part of the overall corporate culture, goals and product development. As a world leader in chemistry, Dow is positioned to continue to provide innovations that lead to energy and resource reductions and alternatives, improved recyclability and other possibilities not yet imagined.

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