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Plastic Additives Trends : Interview with Dow Corning (ChinaPlas 2016)

SpecialChem – May 17, 2016

ChinaPlas 2016 - We interviewed Christophe Paulo, Dow Corning's Global Segment Leader, Plastics & Composites. Watch & discover what he said about macro trends in the industry, new developments, market driving the demand as well as the challenges ahead.

Christophe Paulo Christophe Paulo works with Dow Corning’s global and regional teams to identify market trends that impact product portfolio strategy decisions. He earned a Bachelor of Science in organic chemistry and a Master of Science in polymers chemistry and physicochemistry from the University Bordeaux in France. He received a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

What are the Most Significant Macro Trends in China Relative to Additive Technologies?

Dow Corning is focusing our development of innovative silicone additives to address several major trends.

Design and process simplification

The first trend is design and process simplification. This is particularly important to China, as the 13th Five-year Plan calls for transforming the country into a manufacturer of advanced and quality products. Simplicity in plastics manufacturing depends on obtaining the best results from a resin or compound without extra effort, such as secondary operations or interruptions in production. 

Here Dow Corning’s HMB-0221 Additive for automotive interior parts supports both quality and efficiency:

  1. It enhances and protects surface aesthetics without the need for secondary treatments.
  2. And, at same time, it reduces friction, lowers torque and improves dispersion of fillers to optimize processing.

Reduction of weight and cost

A great example is thin-wall molding, which reduces material usage and shipping weight. In thinner-gauge transparent polycarbonate compounds, our new Dow Corning® 40-001 Additive improves flame retardancy while retaining high clarity. And, as formulations become increasingly complex, silicone additives can help.

Our additives offer multiple benefits in a single product. In polyamide compounds, Dow Corning® 31-441 Additive contributes all these properties:

  • High slip performance
  • Scratch resistance
  • Decreased screw torque

Stricter regulations and environmental rules

China aims to increase its environmental protection efforts, including reducing energy consumption by 15%. Dow Corning silicone additives can help contribute to energy conservation in the plastics industry by optimizing processing. Our additives also reduce extruder torque, lower coefficient of friction and improve de- molding. With silicones, manufacturers can achieve higher speed and productivity with less energy.

Where Do you Expect to See any New Developments in the Coming Year?

In addition to addressing these macro trends, we are monitoring upcoming developments and creating new solutions.

First, Dow Corning sees an increase in demand for halogen-free and organic materials, which require tailored additives. In fact, bio-based materials are gradually replacing petroleum-based resins.

Dow Corning products, such as MB50-001 or MB50-002 Masterbatch for polyolefins, optimize halogen-free FR additives in wire and cable by improving dispersion. In optical applications, our silicone technology delivers non-halogenated FR for polycarbonate without impacting resin clarity.

The Internet of Things is driving greater connectivity across smart devices, sensors and machines. Accelerating growth in electronics will require specialized plastics additives.Miniaturization and higher operating temperatures in electronics require thermoset materials with enhanced properties. Dow Corning silicone additives can boost thermoset performance with stress relief, higher thermal resistance and lower viscosity. Increase of memory materials (EG electric magnetic shape).

Which Markets will Drive the Demand?

The markets expected to drive the greatest demand for silicone technologies are electronics, as I just mentioned, and automotive. Our silicone additives are widely used in automotive parts. For example, > for polyacetals improves coefficient of friction in moving parts without impacting mechanical properties of the resin. Phenolics, epoxies and urethanes used in brake pads benefit from our silicone fluid technologies, which raise temperature resistance.

What will be the Greatest Challenges Going Forward?

Balancing the technology benefits of advanced additives with cost control continues to be a major challenge. While our silicone technologies are more advanced, powerful and feature-rich than many traditional additives, they deliver excellent value:

  • They are effective at low loadings.
  • They optimize dispersion of fillers.
  • They provide multiple performance and processing benefits in a single solution.

Dow Corning is responding to all of these current and upcoming trends with ongoing investment and innovation. They offer very good opportunities for our silicone additives business because they align with the benefits of our technology.

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