Owens Corning has announced at the Composites & Polycon 2006 exhibition the global launch of its latest reinforcement development, MicroMax(TM) fine diameter chopped strand, a game-changing product allowing for ultra-thin high-performance thermoplastic parts. MicroMax reinforcements offer reduced part wall thickness of up to 40 percent compared to parts made with standard glass fiber inputs and will provide a positive aid for the continuing trend to miniaturize advanced electronic components as well as bring further performance enhancements.
Compared to parts made with standard glass fiber filaments, MicroMax reinforcements also deliver:
- 30 percent higher tensile and flexural strength
- Reinforcement filaments with diameters of 6 and 7 microns -- up to 50% thinner than standard filaments
- Reinforcement solutions for parts down to 0.15mm thickness
- 35 percent improvement in weld line strength
- The possibility to reduce reinforcement loading without compromising part strength or stiffness
- Lower outgassing resulting in cleaner mold surfaces and improved part aesthetics, reduced risk to active components, less mold wear and longer mold life
To be featured in its presentation at the show (Booth 801) October 18-20, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A., MicroMax reinforcement technology is one of a number of significant new developments signaled by Owens Corning when it acquired the composites business of the Asahi Fiber Glass Co. Ltd. in Japan earlier this year.
"Demand from the marketplace has progressively driven the downsizing of electronic components, particularly those for handheld devices such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants and digital audio players," said Owens Corning Asia Pacific Marketing Director Bijoy Mohan. "At this point the industry has reached a size threshold beyond which smaller and thinner parts cannot be realized using standard reinforcements as they are unable to achieve the flow and dispersal required."
"MicroMax technology is an innovative and timely development to overcome that barrier," added Owens Corning Senior Engineer Hiromasa Suzuki. "Its combination of extremely small filament diameter and special proprietary binder not only gives it the necessary flowability but also imparts higher mechanical strength to a molding and contributes to smoother part surfaces."
While such thin products were previously possible, MicroMax chopped strand provides OEMs and molders with a solution that allows them to avoid using prohibitively high-cost specialty thermoplastics that would otherwise be needed to achieve required part strength and stiffness without reinforcement. A further advantage for molders is that MicroMax reinforcements lets them continue to use the resins they are familiar with such as Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCP), Polyamide (PA), Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and Polyphenylene Sulfide (PPS), thereby maintaining production continuity and cost control.
MicroMax reinforcements, which is being produced at the company's Ibaraki plant in Japan, has already had a limited offering in the Japanese marketplace where it has received a very positive response from molder customers actively engaged in producing parts for electronic applications. Now fully commercialized, the benefits and advantages of MicroMax reinforcements will be accessible to customers throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas.