Volvo Trucks is using SABIC's Valox iQ polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) resin, made in part out of recycled plastic bottles, for the brackets of the side air deflection system in all seven models of its 2012 Volvo VN family of heavy trucks.
Although many other recycled plastics typically lose performance after undergoing successive melt histories, the upcycled Valox iQ resins have comparable or better performance than conventionally manufactured materials, including excellent resistance to impact, chemicals, and stress fatigue.
“Upcycling costs more and is harder to do technically,” Kenneth Miller, sustainability general manager for technology and innovation at SABIC Innovative Plastics, told us, at the NPE2012 show in Orlando, Fla. “The need to improve fuel efficiency and dramatically reduce weight is pushing truck manufacturers to find lightweighting solutions. For example, some heavy truck manufacturers are trying to reduce their models’ weights from six tons to five tons.” Volvo’s action is the first time an upcycled material made from post-consumer recycled content has been used in a North American heavy truck.
Plastic bottles upcycled through chemical recycling have become Valox iQ PBT used to make the brackets of the side air deflection system in all seven models of Volvo's VN family of 2012 heavy trucks. (Source: SABIC Innovative Plastics)
SABIC worked closely with Volvo to achieve a sustainable materials solution that was also a high performing one, providing application development and technical support, said Miller. “Sustainability requires more collaboration between SABIC and our customers, especially because of shorter design cycles. Sometimes, we find that what looks like a materials problem is really a design problem.” Additional lightweighting is achieved in the Volvo truck family with SABIC ‘s Noryl GTX resin for the fenders, Cycoloy resin for the grille, and clear Lexan resin for forward lighting.
SABIC’s Valox iQ resin contains up to 60 percent post-consumer recycled content and can help reduce the resin’s carbon footprint by up to 49 percent compared to virgin PBT resins, Michael Gilbert, Innovative Plastics general manager, told me. “For every kilogram of Valox iQ we use about 0.85 kg of PET bottles in a chemical recycling process. SABIC is also a net consumer of recycled plastic in our own facilities, especially our Lexan polycarbonate and Valox PBT and polyester.” Valox iQ PBT resin also has about 10 percent to 15 percent higher flow than standard PBT resins.
They tried to tell me my bottled water habit was destroying the environment. But, thank goodness, I have helped Volvo solve a problem that couldn't have happened without my help. They used my bottles to make their trucks safer. I accept your thanks!
There must be a fortune in the garbage dumps around the world if we engineers could just find a market and a way to use this vast "natural" resource. Maybe we are going about this all wrong? It took hydrocarbon-based plastics to create much of the landfill, and maybe we can find a way to reverse some of the processes and solve some fuel issues. There must be 100 years of petrofuels just waiting to be reconstituted...
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
The 100-percent solar-powered Solar Impulse plane flies on a piloted, cross-country flight this summer over the US as a prelude to the longer, round-the-world flight by its successor aircraft planned for 2015.
GE Aviation expects to chop off about 25 percent of the total 3D printing time of metallic production components for its LEAP Turbofan engine, using in-process inspection. That's pretty amazing, considering how slow additive manufacturing (AM) build times usually are.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.