Tuesday 18 January 2022

Guest Interview: Max Funck from PlastFormance – “Our patented technology for innovative plastic compounds allows for high filler contents - up to 80% vol.”


Hello and welcome to this guest interview. Today I present to you Mr. Max Funck from specialty compounder PlastFormance. We have the chance to learn about their highly filled compounds to enhance high conductivity (thermal, electrical) and radiation shielding.

Enjoy the interview!

1.         Tell us about yourself, your current role, and about PlastFormance.

Hello Herwig, first of all thank you for featuring us on your blog – we have been following along for quite some time and really appreciate your content. My name is Max Funck and I’m in charge of the operations and business development at PlastFormance. Our startup was founded in 2018, based on a patented technology for innovative plastic compounds. The technology allows us to combine extremely high filler contents (up to 80% vol.) with superior processability in injection-molding.

2.         What is the production technology you developed, what are the challenges and how does your solution look like?

Compared to current compounds on the market we also mix additives, filler particles and polymers – just with significantly higher amounts of filler particles! With an increasing amount of metal or ceramic fillers, the compound inherits the relevant physical properties. For example, our TC compound shows a high thermal conductivity while maintaining electrically insulation. PlastFormance has found ways to address the two limitations in the field: processability and cost. We use a special set of additives which allow a chemical pre-bonding between the particles. In addition, our chemist has developed a system to increase the flowability of the mold significantly. Under injection molding pressure, the melt increases volume and fills smoothly the mold cavity. Since we can reach higher filler contents than the competition, we can also use less expensive filler particles. For example, our thermally conductive compounds fully forego the use of boron nitride.

3.         What are the performance advantages compared to incumbent compounds?

Over 10 years of experience in selection of filler particles allow us to come close to the maximum possible filler content. Since the filler particles are of spherical shape, the relevant physical attribute (e.g. thermal conductivity) is present in all directions of space. Whereas incumbent compounds usually only achieve a higher thermal conductivity in-plane, our materials show an isotropic behavior. The achieved integral conductivity allows for heat dissipation in all directions of the technical component (e.g. heat sinks).

4.         Tell us about the compounds you produce, in particular the TC series, EC series, and RS series? What are the performance attributes?

The PlastFormance technology is broadly applicable and allows for a wide variety of filler-polymer combinations. The TC (thermally conductive) series is primarily used for heat-dissipation tasks – it combines high thermal conductivities of 3-15 W/mK integral with electrical insulation. Based on a special set of graphite types, the EC (electrically conductive) materials offer high thermal conductivities and electrical conductivities. In a recent comparison, the electrical conductivity of our compound even outperformed pressed graphite plates! To me the most fascinating material comes out of our RS series (radiation shielding). We use the heavy metal tungsten as filler to create injection-moldable parts with densities up to 15 g/ccm! Next to its shielding properties of gamma radiation it is simply mind-blowing to see such a heavy material popping out of the injection-molding machine.

5.         What are some application examples and markets you can use such compounds?

Many trending technologies such as electric mobility, fuel cells and microelectronics require innovative and smart material solutions. A sensor housing does not only need to provide moisture protection. It also acts as heat sink, electric insulator and EMI shield. PlastFormance can provide multifunctional solutions while maintaining the design freedom and cost efficiency coming along with injection-molding. In many housing or heat sink applications we offer a smart alternative to die-cast zinc. When it comes to radiation shielding, our materials replace toxic lead in containers used for dismantling nuclear power plants. The radiation shielding products are designed, molded and assembled directly next door in our sister company.

6.         How is the processing of such highly filled compounds? Which processing methods can be used? What are some benefits?

The company roots go back to injection-molding. Our CTO Helmut Aicher is an experienced injection molder and makes sure that every material we create is easy to use with a sufficient processing window on standard injection-molding machines. We have put lots of effort into reducing the abrasiveness to a minimum and we recommend to use equipment for glass-filled plastics. As we are growing, other processing methods have gained more attention. At the moment a team of university students is running trials with additive manufacturing.

7.         What are some of your success factors?

Obviously, we are highly focused on technology at the heart of the company. A close collaboration with our sister company allows us to cover the whole value chain from product idea, to CAD models and simulations, tool-making and injection-molding of final parts. Our customers appreciate the high paste, which we operate in daily. Besides the rather technical features it is really the diversity in our team that drives success.

8. Where can the readers find out more about you and the compounds of PlastFormance?

Feel free to surf our website or reach out directly to us!

That was the guest interview with Max from PlastFormance – thank you Max for the interesting insights into the specialty compounding world!

Greetings and #findoutaboutplastics


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