Polyfect, a spin out from the Institute of Polymer Technology and Materials Engineering department at Loughborough University, has developed a means to reduce the cost of manufacturing plastic products and improve the quality of the plastic from which they are made.
The technique uses functional fillers which are used to change the properties of a plastic, for example, to make it non-static, to create gas barriers or change its pigmentation.
Conventional processes for incorporating functional fillers in plastics achieve far from optimal results with a significant proportion of the material being poorly dispersed. This necessitates the use of large quantities of filler to achieve the desired properties.
The fillers are typically more expensive than the virgin plastic and also degrade the mechanical properties of the plastic.
Polyfect’s technique, on the other hand, is claimed to allow significantly less filler to be used, resulting in both cost savings and quality improvements as well as having a positive environmental benefit.
The process allows for a significant reduction in fillers such as carbon black. Polyfect’s technology also improves filler dispersion within plastics by up to 10 times that of conventional processes.
Polyfect plans to license its technology to operators in the plastics supply chain for integration into their existing processes.
Initially, the company will seek to work with a limited number of organisations that recognise the potential of the technology and wish to be among the first to realise its benefits.