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Due to their high molecular mass and the resulting viscosity, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylenes (UHMW-PE) can only be processed mechanically with a high degree of expense. However, the Japanese company Mitsui Chemicals has developed a special UHMW-PE as a granulate – brand name: LUBMER – which can be turned into a flowing form and can therefore be directly processed in injection moulding or extrusion processes. Costly reworking and deburring operations are no longer necessary. Various new applications for UHMW-PE have already been developed in cooperation with the distribution partner DREYPLAS GmbH. The product variants retain their ultra-high-molecular properties even after processing and, due to their mouldability, allow for the production of finished parts in large series. All LUBMER variants will be presented by DREYPLAS at FAKUMA in Friedrichshafen.
“Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene as a powder must first be pressed before the desired components can be mechanically worked out from blocks or ring moulds, all at great expense,” explains Dipl.-Ing. Norbert Hodrius, Product Manager at DREYPLAS GmbH. “Due to their high molecular mass and the resulting high viscosity, these polyethylenes are unsuitable for injection moulding and extrusion in principle.” This is now possible with the LUBMER-type UHMW-PE: Through changes in the polymer structure, the plastic is adapted in such a way that very good flow properties are achieved. This ensures an even distribution in the injection mould and prevents defects such as surface roughness. However, the basic properties of the plastic, such as its sliding capacity, abrasion resistance and heat deflection temperature, remain unchanged.
Thanks to the improved sliding properties, more finished parts can be produced in series from this durable plastic: Several components can be injection moulded from one mould with short cycle times using multi-cavity tools. Post-processing or chippings, as is the case when using UHMW-PE semi-finished products, are eliminated. Despite the special production process, the variants L3000, L4000 and L5000 have a very high wear resistance and impact durability, whereby the L5000 is especially suitable for extrusion. They also behave like standard polyolefins, which is evident in their favourable chemical resistance and electrical properties. “We offer comprehensive technical advice as well as laboratory analyses prior to project planning,” adds Hodrius. The customers benefit from the distributor’s experience. DREYPLAS offers its customers not only logistics and quality-tested goods but also just-in-time delivery and worldwide access to high-performance polymers and additives.
DREYPLAS GmbH distributes additives, high-performance polymers and adhesive raw materials for the plastics and chemical industry throughout Europe. The portfolio mainly consists of products from large and renowned – mostly Asian – manufacturers, some of which have long-term supply contracts with the company. Mexico, USA and Canada are covered by the US subsidiary DREYTEK Inc. founded in 2015. The subsidiary DREYCHEM GmbH develops and distributes very highly effective cleaning granulates for injection moulding and extrusion – also in the high-temperature range. Another member of the group, EFP GmbH, is one of the few suppliers of polycarbonate, PC/PMMA and other special films for the printing, household appliance and electronics industries as well as for mechanical engineering.
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