“Innovations in Polymers – Energized by LANXESS” is the specialty chemical group’s slogan for “K 2010”, the world’s largest plastics trade show, in Duesseldorf, Germany.
- Numerous new product developments and technologies from Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen.
- North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister of Economic Affairs visits LANXESS stand.
At a stand extending over some 1,300 square meters, LANXESS is presenting the latest developments in materials, processes and technologies for premium plastics and high-performance rubbers. “This slogan and the design of our stand underline our commitment to innovation. We provide highly effective material, process and technology solutions in response to the challenges thrown up by our key markets and global megatrends such as mobility and urbanization,” says Werner Breuers, member of the Board of Management of LANXESS AG. This is also illustrated by the items on show from the various exhibiting business units – Butyl Rubber (BTR), Performance Butadiene Rubbers (PBR), Technical Rubber Products (TRP), Rubber Chemicals (RUC), Semi-Crystalline Products (SCP), Functional Chemicals (FCC) and Inorganic Pigments (IPG).
Business with plastics and rubbers – known collectively as polymers – plays a key role for the group. In 2009, it accounted for roughly 50 percent of the EUR 5.06 billion total sales figure.
Environmentally friendly lightweight construction solutions for the automotive industry
One focal point of the exhibits showcasing Durethan and Pocan, two high-performance plastics from the Semi-Crystalline Products business unit, is the megatrend of mobility. The latest applications for innovative and environmentally friendly lightweight construction solutions – such as reducing the weight of vehicles – are a particular highlight. Just like improved safety, lower consumption and greater ranges of travel are being seen as increasingly important in the automotive sector. This trend toward lightweight construction is being further reinforced by electric cars. One example is a car front end based on plastic-metal hybrid technology that, for the first time, uses lightweight nylon composite sheet in addition to aluminum. Thanks to their excellent stiffness, these new glass fiber mats reinforced with high-performance Durethan plastics are becoming a viable alternative to metals. They also result in additional weight savings of up to 20 percent. One current application is a spare wheel recess with integrated reinforcing channels for the new Audi A8. Until now, such components have been made of metal or thermosetting plastic.
The hybrid technology patented by LANXESS has been in use for a number of years now – with considerable success. More than 40 million hybrid components in 70 vehicle classes can now be found on roads around the world. The main benefit of this plastic-metal hybrid technology is its excellent integration and weight-reducing potential. In addition to front ends, it is now also used in roof frames and brake pedal blocks in series production.
LANXESS offers visitors to “K 2010” a safe seat
Another product from the Leverkusen-based specialty chemicals group supports visitors – literally – at least when they take the weight off their feet and try out the seats at the LANXESS stand. The high-performance plastic Durethan replaces the metal supports normally used for seats in stadiums and other sports facilities. The premium plastic used to make the seat supports can withstand loads of up to 600 kg, even at the edges, and ensures absolute safety for fans. The key benefits of Durethan are its strength and durability under static and dynamic loads, its excellent UV and weather stability, and its resistance to corrosion. In addition, the supports and the seats themselves are shaped by the injection molding process so as to avoid any sharp edges that could injure spectators.
In addition to stadiums, LANXESS materials can also be found in kitchen appliances such as coffee machines, Thermomix bowls and meat grinders. All these technical gadgets that make life easier are on show at the LANXESS stand and they all contain premium plastics from the Semi-Crystalline Products business unit.
Premium plastics from Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen
The Dormagen site boasts research and development expertise that plays a key role in LANXESS’ plastics business. “We support our customers throughout the component development process – from the initial idea to the finished product,” says Hartwig Meier, Head of Product and Application Development in LANXESS’ Semi-Crystalline Products business unit. The design hub for tailored customer solutions is the state-of-the-art development center at the Dormagen site. The center uses computer simulation for virtual component development and testing, while universal injection molding machines produce components for test purposes.
High-performance plastics are made at the Krefeld-Uerdingen site. This is where LANXESS manufactures polyamide 6 and operates a plant that turns it into Durethan and Pocan. The plastics production facility in Uerdingen is one of the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. Adipic acid – an important plastic precursor – is also produced here.
Innovative rubbers for vehicles powered by natural gas
The rubbers produced by the Technical Rubber Products business unit are a further LANXESS focal point at “K 2010”. The properties of special new Therban grades make them ideal for use in the pressure refueling of vehicles powered by natural gas. This high-performance synthetic rubber, which is manufactured in Leverkusen, is resistant to natural gas and remains much more flexible than other rubbers – even at a temperature of minus 40 degrees Celsius. Therban seals do not become brittle at the icy temperatures that occur during refueling, and they retain their sealing function.
A low-viscosity Therban HNBR rubber also opens up new options. This state-of-the-art special-purpose rubber, one of the most advanced of its kind, flows 1,000 to 10,000 times more easily than previous Therban grades. The innovative material is therefore ideal for processes such as liquid injection molding. LANXESS is currently examining the technical potential of this material in close cooperation with a machine manufacturer.
Therban special-purpose rubbers are developed and tested in Leverkusen, where LANXESS operates an ultramodern Technical Service Center for rubber. In addition to raw polymers, the center also analyzes blends and vulcanizates to improve existing products and develop new ones with optimized properties.