Tuesday 16 July 2024

Polymer Selection Funnel Example - Panhandle (Consumer Goods Material Selection)

Hello and welcome to another material selection example using the Polymer Selection Funnel method (in detail explained here and in this video). Aim is to select the optimal polymer material for a panhandle which most of us are familiar with and have in our kitchen. 

Figure 1 presents the four different stages of the material selection funnel and this overview serves us as a guideline.

Figure 1: Polymer Selection Funnel - overview of the four different funnel stages .


Polymer material selection for a kitchen panhandle

This panhandle is used in professional environments as well as in everyday life kitchens (Figure 2). It needs to cover a range of requirements which we understand better by following our polymer material checklist which consists of 12 sections and can be downloaded here

Figure 2: Overview of a pan with the handle. Aim is to select the optimal polymer for this handle. 

Funnel stage 1: Material selection factors

In the first Funnel stage we focus on gathering and understanding all the requirements of the panhandle

For this product, the minimum requirements according customer specification are:

-Continuous operating temperature (long-term heat resistance): 130°C

-Short term heat resistance: HDT-A between 290°C and 320°C

-UL94 fire rating: HB at all thickness levels

-Good stiffness level at elevated temperature: min 5 GPA storage modulus at 100°C

-Food contact approved including EU 2011-10 and FDA

-Dishwasher use proof

-Good surface appearance (black color)

-Economical: handle must be produced using water coolable moulds with high productivity 

-Product Carbon Footprint: < 7  kg CO2/kg

-Easy cleaning an low sticking properties

-Good impact performance in case of dropping the pan

Furthermore, in Table 1 we summarized all important requirement information (requirement worksheet).

Table 1: Requirement worksheet for the panhandle. 

Funnel stage 2: Decision on thermoplastic or thermoset

Reflecting on the must-have requirements which need to be fulfilled, thermoplastics present the optimal choice. Thermosets will struggle with the food contact regulations, together with the mechanical properties, in particular the impact performance, since they are hard and quite brittle. However, There are Bulk Moulding Compounds (BMCs) such as the BMC 1000 from LyondellBasell Industries which use Unsaturated Polyester as base polymer, have food contact approval and may be a suitable grade for this application. 

Amorphous polymers are transparent and have good temperature and mechanical performance. They are prone to stress cracking, have a lower chemical resistance (dishwasher cleaning agents) and their fatigue performance is lower compared to semi-crystalline polymers too. On the other hand, semi-crystalline engineering polymers have good high heat performance, together with good chemical resistance and mechanical properties. 

After this analysis we can make a preselection of suitable grades which can be discussed in Funnel stage 3. 

Table 2 lists all selected grades and their commercial suppliers. The pre-selected materials are PPA with 40 wt% glass fiber (Amodel® FC-1140 L;  Syensqo), PA 4.6 with 30 wt% glass fiber (Stanyl® TE200F6-FC; Envalior), PPA+PA blend with 50 wt% glass fiber (Omnix® FC-4050; Syensqo), and UP with glass fiber loading (BMC 1000 FC; LyondellBasell). 

Table 2: Overview preselected grades and their commercial suppliers.

Funnel stage 3: Selection discussion with worksheet (qualitative matrix analysis)

In the  third funnel stage the matrix analysis takes place. We use the qualitative decision-making process to rank the preselected polymers from Funnel stage 2.

First we access the online tool I developed to facilitate this step here (Polymer Material Selector V1.1). Alternativ, you can reach out to me and i will provide you with an excel version of it. I only considered the must-have requirements. 

The qualitative matrix analysis has three major steps: in the first step we rank how good each material can fulfil the requirements (0 to 5=best), followed by an assignment of the priorities to each of the requirements (0 to 5 = highest priority). The two steps can be done in reversed order too. In the third step we multiply the requirement fulfilment with the priority and add the values up. 

Table 3 summarizes the outcome of the qualitative matrix analysis.

In our case, PPA-GF40 (score: 173 points) and (PPA+PA)-GF30  (score: 157 points) rank number and number 2 respectively, followed by PA 4.6-GF30 (score: 144 points). All three materials should be validated in the Funnel stage 4. Due to the thermal shock and impact performance needed for this application, UP-GF (elongation at break between 0-1.6%) may result in a too brittle material choice and will not be further tested. 

Table 3: Qualitative matrix analysis for the panhandle. 

Funnel stage 4: Testing, selection of material and vendor

Part and system components, as well as  application specific testing with the PPA, PPA+PA, and PA 4.6 materials from Funnel stage 3 takes place in this final Funnel stage 4. Also, processing and tool making are checked to avoid unseen hurdles in the production at a later stage. Final material selection and vendor selection can be done once all the results are obtained.

In our case, we selected the PPA-GF40 for the premium consumer goods segment and the (PPA+PA)-GF30 as  a more cost-efficient solution for the standard segment. PA 4.6 can be considered for the standard segment too. 

Conclusions

In this example we showed the application of the Polymer Selection Funnel methodology for selecting the optimal food contact grade for panhandle. It is a systematic approach with a resin-agnostic view allowing to consider different material choices. 

More polymer material selection examples using the funnel approach can be found here: 

My online selection tool: 

Polymer Material Selector V1.1

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics

Greetings,

Herwig 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.

!NEW! Ultra and High Performance Polymer Selection - new online course coming soon - join the waiting list

Literature:

[1] https://www.lyondellbasell.com/495bd8/globalassets/products-technology/advanced-polymer-solutions/technical-data-sheets/bulk-molding-compounds/bmc1000.pdf

[2] https://www.matweb.com/search/datasheettext.aspx?matguid=92fbe362c23e4f248abc812a859eb21e

[3] https://www.matweb.com/search/datasheet.aspx?matguid=c9a9ff9a99ca46df81c2e21178e0f2ed&n=1&ckck=1

[4] https://plasticsfinder.envalior.com/en/application/datasheet/2rQz4




Thursday 4 July 2024

Polymer Expert Talk with Dr. Julian Lotz, co-founder and CEO BIOVOX GmbH: "For us the main point is having bio-based content in the materials, getting away from fossil resources and use more renewable resources."

Hello and welcome to this  Polymer Expert Talk, together with Dr. Julian Lotz, CEO and co-founder of the medical grade bioplastics start-up BIOVOX GmbH from Germany. 

In this talk we delve into the promising field of bioplastics, particularly within the medical industry. Julian, with his background in mechanical engineering and fiber-reinforced plastics, transitioned his focus towards sustainable, biocompatible materials due to the profound environmental impact of plastic waste in medical settings. Central to the discussion is the classification of bioplastics into bio-based and biodegradable categories, with BIOVOX emphasizing the development of bio-based materials to reduce dependency on fossil resources. 

They have innovated Poly(lactic acid) (PLA)-based compounds. Their versatility allows them to be used in single-use medical items, due to their high stiffness, strength, and transparency, and are expanding their portfolio to include bio-based Polyethylene and other polymers for a range of applications, including packaging and medical devices.

Polymer Expert Talk with Dr. Julian Lotz, CEO and co-founder of BIOVOX, offering medical grade bioplastics.

**Julian Lotz:** "Let's take this knowledge that we have about biocompatibility, risk management, medical devices, and start making plastics better than we have in large quantities already out there." - This quote underscores the foundational aim of BIOVOX: leveraging their expertise in biocompatibility and medical devices to improve the sustainability of plastics used extensively in the medical field.

Julian highlighted BIOVOX’s effort in addressing the ecological footprint of medical products through life-cycle analysis, aiming for solutions that balance performance with sustainability. The conversation also touched upon the concept of a circular economy within the medical field, underscoring the potential for bioplastics to contribute positively given their inherent biocompatibility and the feasibility of circular end-of-life options like incineration within a carbon cycle. A significant part of the discussion also revolved around the misconception about bioplastics’ impact on food supply, with Julian clarifying the minimal land required for bioplastic production and its benefits over conventional crop usage like cotton. 

Our exchange offers a glimpse into the thoughtful consideration BIOVOX puts into developing bioplastic solutions that are not just sustainable, but also practical and scalable, addressing both the environmental impacts and the specific needs of the medical industry.

Watch the whole exchange here or below.

Here you can get in touch with Julian and the BIOVOX team.

Thank you Julian and the whole BIOVOX team for this great exchange!

Thanks for reading and watching!

Greetings, 

Herwig 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.

!NEW! Ultra and High Performance Polymer Selection - new online course coming soon - join the waiting list




Monday 24 June 2024

Prejudices Against Plastics - A Break on Innovations? Expert Interview Video Series with Dirk Moses - Technoform & Herwig Juster FindOutAboutPlastics.com (Part 3/3)

Part 3 of our expert talk with Dirk Moses from Technoform.

Hello and welcome to this polymer expert interview series with Dirk from Technoform, diving into the world of sustainable polymer solutions. 

It is a three part video series and today we continue with the third and last part:

💡 Prejudices Against Plastics - A Break on Innovations?💡

In this video, we get to the bottom of the prejudices against plastics and reveal the truth behind the negative headlines. 

Dirk and his team at Technoform talk about the unfair bias that the plastics industry has experienced in recent years.

Despite the widespread assumption that plastics are a bad choice for the environment, data reveals a different reality: 'Plastics make up only a tiny fraction of the materials used worldwide and therefore contribute minimally to the carbon footprint. In contrast, other materials such as cement, metal, ceramics and concrete cause the majority of CO2 emissions'.

We discuss the various aspects of the carbon footprint of plastics and emphasize the importance of taking a holistic view of the manufacturing process and the service life of products. We show how plastics can make a positive contribution to the environment through their longevity and efficiency in disposal.

Despite the challenges and the long time it sometimes takes for innovative plastic solutions to be accepted by customers, Dirk and his team are optimistic about the future. 

They have already developed successful plastic solutions for cooling battery systems and see an increased focus on recycling and sustainability as future trends. Also, Dirk sees the future of polymer-based solutions as indispensable, especially in areas such as technical components, packaging and transport as well as construction materials. Plastics offer unique properties such as design flexibility, thermal insulation, mouldability and chemical resistance, which make them irreplaceable for many applications.

Watch the video below or here. The Podcast version can be found here.


Check out the other two interviews too:

Part 1: Plastics & Sustainability - A Contradiction?

Part 2: Sustainable Plastics Solutions For The Automotive Sector

Get in touch with Technoform here

Thanks for reading & watching!

Greetings, 

Herwig 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.

!NEW! Ultra and High Performance Polymer Selection - new online course coming soon - join the waiting list



Sunday 23 June 2024

New Polymer Material Selection Tool - Plastics Pricing Dashboard using Tableau

Hello and welcome to this post in which I present to you the plastics pricing dashboard I created with the business intelligence tool Tableau (is part of the Salesforce.com suite of tools). It will support you during the material selection phase as an engineer, as well as a support tool for plastics purchasers and for everyone interested in the development of polymer pricing. 

The Polymer Selection Funnel - information gathering phase and cost considerations

Figure 1 shows the Polymer Material Selection Funnel and cost considerations are a relevant aspect during the information gathering phase for optimal polymer selection, which is the base step before starting with step 1 - Material Selection Factors. 

Figure 1: Polymer Selection Funnel and the information gathering phase which contains cost considerations. 

Plastic cost contribution to the final product costs can range from 50% up to 80%. If we are designing a technical part, cost contribution is around 50%, and in case we design an injection moulded consumer product, cost contribution is in the range of 80%. Having access to pricing data and understanding the dynamics behind, allow you to make better decisions along the material selection funnel steps. 

Additionally, the shape of the part is fixed by the design and not by the weight. Therefore, having plastics cost data per volume instead of cost per kilogram is more useful. In the pricing dashboard both representations are shown: cost per kilogram and cost per volume. 

What does the plastics pricing dashboard contain and how is it built up?

The tool Tableau allows me to organize polymer (engineering) data for material selection by interactive dashboards. 

Figure 2 presents two pricing charts of commodity and engineering polymers pellets. The following polymers are covered: ABS, PA 6, PA 6.6, PBT, PC, PE-HD, PE-LD, POM, PP, and PS. The data sources can be found here.

Figure 2: Plastics Pricing Dashboard - overview of the two pricing charts. 

The left one contains the average price in EUR per kg over the period of one year (July 2023 till June 2024). The right one contains the average price per liter over the same period of time. By clicking on one of the plastics, for example ABS, only ABS in color "blue" can be seen and all the others are shown in light grey color. 

On the bottom of the dashboard, the average sales price and the density of the same polymers is plotted (Figure 3). Additionally, there are two filters. The upper filter allows you to select polymers which have a certain density only. And the second filter allows you to select certain price levels. This in turn allows you to narrow your search and analysis. 

Figure 3: Plastics Pricing Dashboard - average sales price vs. density.

Time to try the dashboard out

Now it is time to check out the dashboard here or immediately below. 


Furthermore, it is possible to download it as a picture, PDF, powerpoint slide or as a Tableau workbook. 

I will update the dashboard in quarterly time steps to keep this selection tool as accurate as possible and will include more information such as ethylene (important for C2-pricing), propylene (important for C3-pricing), and other base chemicals important for plastics pricing as well as other plastics. 

I am curious about your feedback on this tool and feel fre to leave a message below or by using the contact form.

Check out my other dashboards here, which are part of my Tableau capstone project series: 

Plastics Environmental Sustainability Dashboard

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis Data of Engineering and High Performance Polymers 

As well as polymer material selection tools: 

Polymer Material Selector V1.1

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics

Greetings,

Herwig 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.

!NEW! Ultra and High Performance Polymer Selection - new online course coming soon - join the waiting list

Literature:

[1] https://plasticker.de/preise/preise_monat_single.php?submit=x&form=Granulat&werkstoff=ABS&dauer=12


Monday 17 June 2024

Sustainable Plastics Solutions For The Automotive Sector - Expert Interview Video Series with Dirk Moses - Technoform & Herwig Juster FindOutAboutPlastics.com (Part 2/3)

Expert Interview with Dirk from Technoform - part 2: sustainable plastics solutions for automotive

Hello and welcome to the second part of our expert Interview with Dirk from Technoform.

Here you can check out part 1: Plastics & Sustainability - A Contradiction?

The automotive industry offers enormous potential for the use of high-performance polymers in the context of sustainability. Dirk uses an example to explain how plastic components enable the optimisation of battery packs for high-voltage batteries and how plastics enable the effective decoupling of components.

However it is not just the automotive industry that benefits from the advantages of plastics technology. Additionally, we discuss how high-performance polymers such as Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) can be used in the treatment of corrosive liquids and gases to save considerable amounts of CO2. These polymers not only offer a long service life, but also other advantages along the value chain, such as lower weight and easier assembly.

Dirk Moses (Technoform) and Herwig Juster discussing the application of thermally conductive PPS for corrosive liquid treatment.

Another topic we discuss is the replacement of metals with plastics. While metals remain indispensable, there are applications in which plastics can be an efficient alternative.

For example, recycled plastics can replace metals in certain applications and at the same time create added value by utilizing the benefits of plastics technology.

Immerse yourself with us in the world of sustainable plastics innovations and discover how Technoform and other companies are helping to shape a greener future. 

Watch the interview now: 

Stay tuned for the last episode:

- Prejudices about plastics - a brake on innovation?

Get in touch with Technoform here

Thanks for reading & watching!

Greetings, 

Herwig 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.

!NEW! Ultra and High Performance Polymer Selection - new online course coming soon - join the waiting list



Thursday 13 June 2024

Plastics & Sustainability - A Contradiction? Expert Interview Video Series with Dirk Moses - Technoform & Herwig Juster FindOutAboutPlastics.com (Part 1/3)

Expert interview with Dirk Moses from Technoform: Plastics & Sustainability - a contradiction?

Hello and welcome to this polymer expert interview series diving into the world of sustainable polymer solutions. It is a three part video series and today we start with our first video:

🌱 Plastics & sustainability - a contradiction? 🌱

I visited Technoform in Lohfelden, Germany to explore the link between plastics & sustainability. In this video I find out how Technoform has been researching sustainable solutions since 2015, from the use of renewable resources to the introduction of innovative separation technologies. Dirk Moses and his team are setting standards, from overcoming skepticism about bio-based materials to making effective use of production waste.

Since the Sustainable Development Goals were set in 2015, Technoform, solution provider for customized plastic profiles, has been exploring measures to enable sustainable plastic solutions. 

From the use of renewable resources to the introduction of innovative separation technologies along the value chain.

We learn how Technoform has tackled the challenges of the thermoplastic market, from initial scepticism towards bio-based materials to the effective use of production waste and the development of single-variety recycling methods. These strategies not only have an environmental impact, but also contribute to the quality of the products.

Dirk Moses and his team are committed to avoiding production waste and are working on solutions to save resources and reduce environmental impact. 

By utilizing post-industrial plastics and calculating the CO2 equivalents of their raw materials, they are leading the way in the industry and helping to shape a sustainable future.

Get an insight into the world of plastics innovation and discover how Technoform and companies can make an important contribution to conserving our resources while improving the quality of their products.

Watch the video now here:


Stay tuned for two more episodes:

- Sustainable plastics solutions for the automotive sector

- Prejudices about plastics - a brake on innovation?

Get in touch with Technoform here

Thanks for reading & watching!

Greetings, 

Herwig 

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.

!NEW! Ultra and High Performance Polymer Selection - new online course coming soon - join the waiting list



Thursday 23 May 2024

Designing Parts With Polymers - Material Selection Checklist [Free Download]

Hello and welcome to this blog post. Today's topic is plastic part design, and as a helpful resource for your upcoming project, I have included my material selection checklist. 

Polymer material selection - an important step in the plastics part design process

Unlike the typical process of finishing the design and then searching for a suitable material, material selection is best done in tandem with the design development.

Design can adjust to material restrictions and capabilities when material selection is developed concurrently.

Technical data sheets (TDS) and material selection tools can be used to compare potential materials to design criteria and component service conditions. The data can be entered into a checklist, highlighting qualities that are not relevant.

A checklist is useful since it makes sure that no manufacturing detail, property, or service requirement is missed.

Covering effectively the product requirements, a combination of functionality questions and selection factor questions can support you to achieve this. The functionally and selection factor questions can be found here.

A Polymer Part Design Checklist, I published together with design engineer Vatsal Kapadia here.

Polymer Material Selection Checklist

My checklist consists of 12 sections and next we have a detailed view on all the sections. You can download the Material Checklist here. The checklist is in line with Step 1 of my  Polymer Funnel methodology

In this first stage we map out the true part functions and material requirements. After this we translate the requirements into material selection factors (Figure 1).

This can be done with the support of questions (summarized in the checklist) such as what load does the plastic part need to carry? Or/and will the part be exposed to chemicals? 

Figure 1: Designing with plastics - Polymer Material Checklist as support tool for Funnel stage 1.

1. General

-Performance requirements (structural, etc.)

-Combining multiple parts or functions

-Structural load (static, dynamic, cycling, impact, etc.)

-Environment (Chemical, temperature, time)

-Tolerance requirements

-Lifetime of product

-Quantity of product vs. manufacturing process

-Secondary operations

-Packaging and shipping


2. Environment

-Temperature

-Time

-Load

-Chemicals, water, humidity, etc.


3. Engineering Design Data

-Type of load

-Frequency of load

-Stress rate (compression, tensile, flexural)

-Strain amplitude

-Load deformation (tensile, compression, shear, etc.)

-Apparent modulus (includes strain due to creep)

-Direction of load

-Correlating test data with end use

-Safety factor


4. Part Geometry Data

-Part volume

-Size restrictions for design?

-Thickness restrictions for design?


5. Material and Process

-Directional layout of reinforcements

-Regrinding

-Pre-drying

-Prototyping (machining, moulding, additive manufacturing)


6. Appearance

-Style

-Shape

-Colour

-Surface finish/ weld lines / flow lines/ parting line / gate location


7. Tests (UL, SAE, ATIM, etc.)

-Tension

-Compression

-Creep

-Dynamic/ fatigue/torsion

-Impact

-Poisson’s ratio

-Continuous service temperature / UL temp. index


8. Economic Factors

-Cost of present part and cost aim

-Cost estimate of part with plastics

-Faster assembly and elimination of finishing operation

-Redesign part to simplify product


9. Sustainability Factors

-Use of regrind

-Post industrial recycling (PIR)

-Post consumer recycling (PCR)

-Biosourcing

-Lifecycle assessments (ISO 14040)


10. Temperature Range of Part

-Short term and long term heat exposure

-Heat aging - retention of properties over time and temperature

-Dimensional stability at elevated temperature

-Hydrolysis stability needed


11. Flammability and Electrical Requirements

-Parts needs flame rating (UL 94 - V0, HB, etc.)? If yes, at which thickness?

-Glow wire or unattended appliance requirement?

-Electrostatic Discharge Shielding (ESD)

-Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI) shielding


12. Special Requirements

-UV exposure?

-Chemical exposure

-Additional approvals and RoHS

-Material restrictions (halogen, copper, etc.)?

-Special environments (nuclear protection needed)?

-Overmoulding concerns

-Warpage concerns due to mating with another part

-Laser welding needs?

-Special colorability?

-Conductive requirements (thermal conductive and electrical isolating)?


You can download the Material Checklist here

I offer to select the optimal polymer for your project, doing the polymer material selection together with you, and also teaching polymer material selection as a training in a group - let me know how I can help you here.

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics

Greetings

Herwig Juster

Interested in my monthly blog posts – then subscribe here and receive my high performance polymers knowledge matrix.

!NEW! Ultra and High Performance Polymer Selection - new online course coming soon - join the waiting list

Literature: 

[1] https://www.findoutaboutplastics.com/2020/08/what-is-difference-between-industrial.html

[2]  https://www.hardiepolymers.com/knowledge/designing-with-plastics/

[3] https://www.findoutaboutplastics.com/2022/08/polymer-material-selection-defining.html

[4] https://www.polymermaterialselection.com/online-selection-tools

[5] https://www.polymermaterialselection.com/contact-me