Softell, a new polypropylene (PP) from LyondellBasell Industries, allows high-quality surfaces to be produced without additional coating or painting.
This product already has numerous applications, particularly in the automotive industry for vehicle interior trim. In this case, there is a focus on the driver´s wellbeing. Besides perfect surface, design and color matching of the individual plastic surfaces, an extremely pleasant haptics is also crucial for an elegant appearance without scratches. The low emission of the material also contributes to a welcoming atmosphere. But this soft-touch PP is also finding increasing applications in convenience goods. "Softell is a product characterized by high freedom of design. With its high impact strength and pleasant surface, without painting, it is also ideally suited for trim on high-quality consumer products," says Marc Swatosch, head of product management for advanced polyolefins at K.D. Feddersen in Hamburg, Germany. "We have already been able to realize numerous substitutions of painted ABS applications," continues Marc Swatosch.
A Treat for the Senses
Scandinavian design is renowned around the world for its simple elegance and functionality, but also its quality of workmanship. Vandborg Plastic- og Værktøjsfabrik ApS near Aarhus, Denmark, was looking for a material with a pleasant-touch surface for the redesign of its popular 20-year-old line of corkscrews, bottle openers, and salt and pepper pots The tested TPE material was unsuitable for this application, since it was just too soft. It is very expensive to produce the part from ABS and then coat it with a soft-touch surface.
Vandborg was looking for a material showing the strength, necessary to withstand the severe stresses in these applications, but also being handy. Because of the wide range of colors of their product program, they also placed a high priority on the material being homogeneously pigmentable and cost-effective to process.
Mads Meilvang, sales manager at the Danish sales office of K.D. Feddersen Norden AB, obtained the briefing from the customer and recommended Softell. After extensive processing tests at Vandborg, the material´s processing properties were found persuasive and the material was recently cleared for production.
According to processors, this soft-touch PP can be injection molded in only an one step process to produce finished parts that meet challenging requirements, with up to 40% lower costs and simplified process workflows. Other advantages include its homogeneous pigmentability, well balanced mechanical propertiesand 100% recyclability. The product is unreinforced with a hardness of up to approximately 80 Shore A, and 20% and 25% glass fiber reinforcement.
The Softell distributor considers this material to have a great deal of potential for many applications outside the automotive industry. In sanitary applications, for bath faucet handles, shower handles, medical equipment or walking aids, but also for various sports equipment such as Nordic walking poles, ski poles, (ice) hockey sticks or climbing grips. The material is also ideal for use in high-quality household appliances, such as irons or hand mixers, beauty and wellness products, such as hairdryers, shavers or epilators.
Photo: "To Go salt/pepper shaker with integrated bottle opener from Vandborg, Denmark, manufactured from Softell soft-touch polypropylene.
More Information: www.kdfeddersen.com, www.vpv.dk