25 Oct 2016
Fast-changing needs in the consumer goods & electronics sectors drive innovation in SABIC
Sittard, The Netherlands, October 25, 2016 - A growing global population combining with a rapidly increasing middle class drive rapid expansion in consumer goods and personal mobile devices. The middle class is expected to represent 4.9 billion members of the world population by 20301. Within just the next four years, global middle class spending is expected to rise by some $20 trillion annually2.
Electronics and online connectivity are already deeply embedded into our daily lives, and that trend will only accelerate, with researchers forecasting that some 21 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020, more than tripling from this year3.
The expected explosion of smart devices and other consumer goods is placing unprecedented demands on the materials needed to make these components and products, which need to be stylish, safe, lighter, durable, cost-effective, compliant with industry regulations and sustainable – often all at the same time.
“SABIC is pleased to be at the forefront of materials innovation to support our customers to address these challenging trends,” said Alan Tsai, Director for Display & Electronics for SABIC. “Fast-moving technology and ever-changing consumer preferences require suppliers to have flexibility, broad product portfolios, deep R&D and applications expertise, and a global footprint. We check all of these boxes.”
SABIC has a long history of making such advanced materials used by our customers for diverse consumer solutions, and will showcase some of its latest products and technologies on Stand D42 in Hall 6 at the K 2016 trade show in Düsseldorf. Here are just a few examples of what you will see there:
GIVING ELECTRONICS NEW LIFE & NEW FEATURES
- Creating recycled computers: In an industry first, Dell Inc. incorporated specially formulated material from SABIC that contains recycled carbon fibre, into Dell’s Latitude™ and Alienware™ laptops, with plans to expand its use across these two product portfolios this year. Dell estimates that by partnering with SABIC, this project will divert 372,000 kg of carbon fiber from landfills.
- Shatter-resistant & lighter screens: SABIC’s LEXAN™ polycarbonate/glass laminate technology may be an excellent candidate for consumer electronics manufacturers to use on the cover lenses of their devices to help reduce the chance of screens cracking or shattering. LEXAN films with various assembly processes are also typically used by our customers to yield improved designs and end properties in innovative electronic products. For example, SABIC’s proprietary GIM (Glass Insert-Molding) technology may enable our customers to simplify the mechanical design of their device through insert molding of snap-fit features. This enables easier assembly, and can help customers to make consumer electronic devices lighter and more waterproof.
- In-mold electronics devices (IME): Customers typically use different LEXAN and ULTEM™ films to enable integration of electronic functionality into 3D plastic parts and also to reduce space/weight and enhance aesthetics. Some typical applications using these films include automotive center stacks, capacitive switches, LED lighting, wearable devices and sensors. SABIC has developed and tested films and resins optimized for IME in cooperation with TACTOTEK™ in part to enable electronics structural integration. Use of these films has helped brand owners reduce typical part weight by 70% and thickness by 90% compared to traditional electronics devices.
ENHANCING HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES
- High-gloss aesthetics with new SABIC® PP copolymer: SABIC has developed a new high-gloss polypropylene impact copolymer (ICP) grade, which may be an excellent candidate for demanding home appliances as well as high end cosmetics, furniture and other household consumer goods. This material could offer new design opportunities for aesthetical parts alongside traditional engineering plastics such as ABS, at reduced cost level and high efficiency. It offers superior aesthetic properties – such as high gloss, excellent scratch resistance and low stress whitening compared to regular ICP.
- One-stop shop for coffee machines & capsules: The SABIC PP neat resins are normally used by our customers in single-serve coffee capsules, for such thin-wall products, they typically offer excellent processing. Additionally, our VALOX™ PBT resins typically find use in more demanding capsule applications requiring high stiffness and excellent oxygen barrier, offering a good balance of dimensional stability, shelf life, and puncture resistance. A variety of SABIC resins support our customers addressing the needs for making aesthetically striking coffee machines, which are not only functional but increasingly a design statement on the lifestyle of consumers. The housing and components of such appliances are typically made by using SABIC materials such as CYCOLOY™ (PC/ABS), LEXAN (PC), SABIC PP and CYCOLAC™ (ABS) resins, which offer excellent aesthetics, paint-out due to their moulded-in colour capability and cost reduction through elimination of secondary operations. Next to that, SABIC’s non-brominated and non-chlorinated flame-retardant (FR) products - CYCOLOY (PC/ABS), LEXAN (PC), NORYL™ (PPO/PS) and VALOX (GF PBT) resins – offers OEMs IEC60335 Safety Standard compliant materials for their unattended appliances.
- Beat the heat: Korean appliance maker LG has selected LEXAN HF1110R resin material for use in the transparent, inner glazing part for a high-end, multifunctional air purifier. The resulting thin, strong, clear housing can also accommodate higher heat to help ensure high paint curing temperatures above 130˚C.
- In addition to the consumer goods and electronics solutions on display at K 2016, SABIC will soon broaden its material portfolio with the addition of SABIC® PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) product. This material, commonly referred to as acrylic, offers superior transparency, good scratch resistance, stiffness, hardness and shatter resistance and maybe an excellent candidate for applications such as television and LCD monitors as well as injection molded consumer goods such as filter jugs, cups and salad bowls. For gears and zippers, SABIC® POM (unfilled polyoxymethylene or polyacetal) product is typically used by our customers for its high strength and stiffness, hardness and resistance to high temperatures for molded parts.
- Cleaning up: South Korean appliance giant LG has selected LEXAN HF1110R for use in the lid of the lower automatic washing machine in its twin, stacked, high-end washing machines. The material provided clarity, good aesthetics, and excellent mechanical strength in this application.
- Shine a Light: SABIC also offers various light-emitting diode (LED) lighting solutions.
LEXAN LUX-G, LUX-C and LUX-T resins are typically selected by our customers for its improved energy efficiency and longer lifecycles for LED lighting. These materials typically provide improved optics due to improved heat-aging properties, which results in less yellowing. They are also available in different diffusion levels. SABIC’s LEXAN LUX resin portfolio offers flame-retardant (FR), non-brominated, non-chlorinated grades that vary in light diffusion, transparency and high reflectivity. These products allow optimal light transmission, which may make them excellent candidates for lenses, diffusors and reflectors. Non-FR LEXAN LUX resins, which do not contain flame-retardants, typically provide advantages in production due to good flow properties, and are also selected by our customers for its high light transmission and color stability.
KONDUIT™ compounds are typically used by our customers for thermal conductivity, as well as the opportunity for up to 30% lighter weight, which typically contributes to 69 to 87% lower cradle to pre-use energy consumption and a similar reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for heat-sink applications. Furthermore, KONDUIT typically delivers more design freedom and is available in black or white. In addition, KONDUIT compounds may be an excellent candidate for our customers to achieve electrical isolation to provide even more design freedom in LED lighting applications and also eliminate the need for secondary operations. They typically provide thermal conductivity up to 18W/mK when used as an electrical conductive solution, and up to 13W/mK when used as an electrical isolative solution. SABIC also offers non-brominated, non-chlorinated, flame-retardant grades down to UL94 V0 at 0.8mm, available in either white or black.
The SABIC products mentioned above can be considered for customers’ evaluation and may support them to ensure strong growth for mobile devices, electronics products and various consumer goods. Market demands will continue to drive the trend toward thinner, more stylish and highly integrated, multifunctional devices. At the same time, for both cost and environmental reasons, brand owners will continue to seek solutions that offer efficient, sustainable and responsible manufacturing and end-of-life options.
PUTTING A CHARGE INTO E-MOBILITY
Electric vehicles are seen as a way to help mitigate the environmental challenge of vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. Bals Elektrotechnik GmbH & Co. KG was seeking a material solution that would enable it to comply with the demanding regulations for e-mobility charging systems. SABIC supported Bals in this quest during the design phase for a new EV connector and plug. The end product had to meet very stringent requirements related to flame retardance, thermal insulation, chemical resistance, and electrical and mechanical properties. Bals selected SABIC VALOX™ PC/PBT blend, for all these reasons, as well as for its processability, superb outdoor weatherability and its custom color options.
GOING ALONG FOR THE RIDE
High-end bicycle makers, like automakers, are always looking for ways to reduce the weight of their bikes while not impacting performance. SABIC applied its materials expertise to develop a sleek, stylish, hybrid composite bike seat that enables mass production, reduces weight, consolidates parts, improves ergonomics, lowers costs and boosts design freedom. This seat also helps to prove the feasibility of hybrid overmolded components.
TALKING CHEMISTRY THAT MATTERS™
Finally, SABIC will be showcasing at K its new campaign called “Talking Chemistry That Matters™”, which highlights its successful collaborations with customers in various sectors. In this market, SABIC has been pleased to work on projects with customers such as Sekisui Alveo. SABIC has collaborated for more than 20 years with Sekisui Alveo (www.sekisuialveo.com) on polyolefin foam development, which has opened the doors for both companies to new market opportunities not only in consumer goods and industrial products, but also in building and construction, and automotive.
SABIC offers a full portfolio of potential solutions that address these challenges. To learn more, visit SABIC at Stand D42 in Hall 6 at K 2016 from 19 to 26 October. For more information, go to www.sabic.com/Kshow.
1 Source: BBC News
2 Source: Clearwater 2012 Global Consumer Report
3 Source: Gartner report
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SABIC is a global leader in diversified chemicals headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We manufacture on a global scale in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, making distinctly different kinds of products: Chemicals, Plastics, Agri-Nutrients, Metals, and Specialties.
We support our customers in identifying and developing opportunities in key end markets such as Construction, Medical Devices, Packaging, Agri-Nutrients, Electrical and Electronics, Transportation, and Clean Energy.
SABIC recorded a net profit of SR 18.77 billion (US$ 5 billion) in 2015. Sales revenues for 2015 totaled SR 148.09 billion (US$ 39.49 billion). Total assets stood at SR 328.22 billion (US$ 87.53 billion) at the end of 2015.
SABIC has more than 40,000 employees worldwide and operates in more than 50 countries. Fostering innovation and a spirit of ingenuity, we have filed more than 10,960 patents, and have significant research resources with innovation hubs in five key geographies – USA, Europe, Middle East, South East Asia and North East Asia.
The Saudi Arabian government owns 70 percent of SABIC shares with the remaining 30 percent publicly traded on the Saudi stock exchange.
At SABIC, we combine a rich track record of doing what others said couldn’t be done, with a deep understanding of our customers. But our true impact is as a partner who can help our customers achieve their ambitions by finding solutions to their challenges. We call this ‘Chemistry that Matters™’.