Thursday, August 24, 2000
A new technology agreement promises to change the
price-performance balance of long-glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene, driving
down its cost in high-volume applications and potentially opening the door for
more automotive and appliance structural applications.
LNP Engineering Thermoplastics (www.lnp.com) and Vetrotex America (www.va.sgcna.com) have announced that LNP
will offer Vetrotex's Twintex long-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (LFRT) pellets
for injection molding and extrusion-compression molding. LNP will market the
Twintex pellets as Verton MTX.
Unlike earlier Verton products, which are produced in a pultrusion
process, Twintex technology combines glass and thermoplastic fibers in one
continuous roving during manufacturing. The resulting pellets can support
extremely high glass-loadings-in excess of 75%, according to William Magill,
Twintex business manager.
In LNP's case, the pellets will contain 75% glass by volume.
Intended for use as a glass concentrate, the pellets will be blended with a
variety of polypropylene base resins right at the production machine. LNP
manager Matthew Miklos estimates that "machine side" blending will produce cost
savings in the 20-30% range at volumes around one million lb/year. How? Blending
allows users to start with ordinary low-cost polypropylene and achieve their
final glass loadings with a relatively small amount of concentrate. "The savings
is in the final blend," Miklos says, noting that LNP has to drive prices into
the range of $1.00 to $1.20/lb to compete in many automotive applications.