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DuPont Engineering Design Electronic Magazine

EDITORIAL: Responsible innovation now

By Björn Hedlund
Regional Director Europe, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA) at DuPont Performance Polymers

Björn Hedlund

Welcome to the K 2010 issue of Engineering Design, an issue dedicated to some of the highlights to be presented by DuPont Performance Polymers during the largest and most prestigious event on the plastics and rubber industry’s calendar. We are taking an optimistic and future-oriented view of our business and the opportunities that are emerging from the challenge of the global megatrends and the reality of the new economy. Under our theme line of ‘Responsible Innovation Now’, we seek collaboration with our customers in providing new solutions, based on our high performance polymers and elastomers, enabling a more sustainable world.

A sustainable approach

By the term ‘Responsible’, we mean a focus on reducing our environmental footprint throughout the multiple value chains that we serve. One approach we have undertaken to achieve this goal is to develop the industry’s broadest range of renewably-sourced engineering polymers – providing performance and functionality equivalent to, or better than, today’s fully petroleum-based materials, whilst reducing their environmental impact. Likewise, driving down the weight of components and systems used in the automotive industry can help improve fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions. In order to invite even more opportunities to replace metal for cost and weight savings, we recently introduced a new family of nylon products – DuPont™ Zytel® PLUS nylon – which is able to meet the ever-increasing performance demands of the automotive industry with enhanced durability when exposed to hot oil, hot air, calcium chloride and other aggressive automotive chemicals in under-the-hood applications. For automotive interior applications, we have developed new low-emission grades of DuPont™ Delrin® acetal, which are well within the formaldehyde emission requirements of the leading automotive manufacturers, creating new opportunities for their adoption.

Tailored, creative solutions

At DuPont Performance Polymers, “Innovation” is a key strategy for growth and an answer to the demanding challenges of global megatrends. As a global supplier in material science, we collaborate in harmony with our customers and all of the value chain in addressing their needs for product differentiation and work together in developing a creative solution. Such creativity is reflected in two recent announcements. Firstly, there has been the introduction of several new grades of DuPont polymers that meet regulatory requirements for use in health care products and equipment. These resins, specifically designed for the healthcare industry, provide a number of advantages over existing medical materials, including rapid production cycles and excellent performance in a number of sterilization environments. Such attributes make them ideal materials for a variety of single-use and multiple-use surgical and medical devices as well as drug delivery systems. Similarly, we have recently launched a range of food grade products providing food agency compliance, both in terms of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Commission Regulation No. 2023/2006 on good manufacturing practice. Both these initiatives have been introduced with the intention of bringing the benefits of DuPont’s expertise in science, technology, quality and safety in manufacturing, and regulatory compliance, to the health care and food processing industries respectively.

Sustainability Graphic
A second, core element of innovation is application development in close collaboration with our customers and our customers’ customers. As described in this issue of Engineering Design, colleagues in the UK have worked closely with a customer on the development of food hoppers made of a new, foodapproved and metal-detectable grade of Delrin® as a replacement for steel. As a result of the material innovation and technical support provided by DuPont, the customer, a manufacturer of thermoplastic coil bobbins, has been able to both extend business with an existing customer and enter a new market with the potential for significant growth. Moreover, its customer – a leader in the design, manufacture and installation of packaging line solutions – stands to profit from the benefits of polymer in food processing applications, which can include significant improvements in performance and reduced operating costs.

Leveraging the power of one DuPont

Integration represents a further path to innovation, achieved in part by leveraging the power of one DuPont to develop complete system solutions. For instance, we have expanded capabilities for automotive applications at our Shanghai research and development center, which offers services for polymers as well as some of our other materials. The Chinese automotive market is of particular interest in light of the rising number of cars sold in China’s domestic market, and the comparatively low engineering plastic content of the cars currently available there. Similarly, we opened the Meyrin Photovoltaic Application Laboratory at our European Technical Center in Geneva earlier this year. Our combined offering for the photovoltaic industry, of which engineering polymers are a core component, represents the broadest portfolio in the solar energy industry. The new laboratory will allow us to collaborate more closely with our customers in the photovoltaic industry, to provide local technical support and to develop the next generation of products for what will be the fastest growing sector in the energy market for the next 20 years.

Finally, the time for collaboration is ‘Now’, as it will enable us all to emerge from recent economic difficulties both faster and stronger. We therefore invite all of our industry partners to work with us in the quest for innovation in new responsible solutions to the current global challenges. We strongly believe that by doing so we will create sustainable business growth for us all. I wish you an enjoyable and informative visit to K 2010!

Be sure to visit our K2010.plastics.dupont.com web site.

K 2010 update: More new polymers based on DuPont™ SHIELD Technology

New polymers based on SHIELD technology, including two grades of Zytel® HTN PPA, constitute one of the innovations to be presented by DuPont at K 2010. As with the first wave of nylon products based on the same technology and launched as DuPont™ Zytel® PLUS nylon in March this year, these new additions will deliver excellent performance levels which are maintained much longer than traditional nylons despite exposure to hot oil, hot air, calcium chloride and other aggressive automotive chemicals. Benefits for the automotive industry include polymer components with enhanced durability, while maintaining the design and processing ease familiar with nylon, for even greater opportunities to replace metal for cost and weight savings.

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