MATERIALS: SABIC Innovative Plastics‘ Ultem* polyetherimide (PEI) resin turned up the heat to support the successful U.S. launch of Groupe SEB’s T-fal® ActiFry®low-fat deep fryer. In the face of toughening food contact regulations for the appliance’s fryer basket in the United States, the French manufacturer turned to SABIC Innovative Plastics for a material offering regulatory compliance as well as color customization, excellent high-temperature resistance and the freedom to integrate parts for system cost reduction. As the only available material meeting all these requirements under a tight launch window, Ultem resin enabled Groupe SEB® to design an ActiFry® model appropriate for the U.S. market. SABIC Innovative Plastics, renowned for working side-by-side with customers in various industries to help them achieve business success, is now actively supplying innovative, high-performance materials to the food service and processing industry.
The Ultem resin portfolio of high-performance, food-grade materials offers many advantages for food service and processing applications from cooking utensils and microwave bowls to unique higher-end appliances. Tightening regulations and new designs are now calling for the high-temperature performance, dimensional stability, colorability and compliance of SABIC Innovative Plastics’ tough Ultem resin grades.
The T-fal® ActiFry® can cook one kilogram of fresh-cut French fries using only one tablespoon of oil with a tender, crispy result. Moreover, ActiFry® is versatile for creating a variety of healthy, low-fat dishes, such as meats, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and desserts, with minimal effort. Already a great success in Europe, and already growing in popularity in the United States, the pan, which holds the food, must provide high heat resistance and dimensional stability, and meet food contact regulations.
Groupe SEB® determined that flame-retardant Ultem resin, unlike competitive materials, met all its requirements by providing compliance with U.S. Food & Drug Association (FDA) food contact requirements and UL94 5VA listing; a relative temperature index (RTI) rating of 170C; and an exact match to the custom dark gray color specified by Groupe SEB®. Further, Ultem resin gave designers the freedom to create a single molded part integrating mechanical assembly features, the heat resistance supports underneath the fryer basket, and a hot air inlet for air circulation around the pan. SABIC Innovative Plastics worked closely with the molder and SEB®, who provided processing and mold design support.
-Edited by Kelsey Anderson