RFP - Rubber Fibres Plastics International

“Back to normal” – what does “normal” mean?

The corona crisis has taught us that working from home is often more efficient. We have more time for family life due to fewer business trips, and also CO2 emissions have fallen in many industrialised countries due to the lockdown.

But we also realized that the large number of video conferences and webinars is beginning to wear us out, that short conversations with colleagues would be helpful for our work process, and that we lack real meetings and exchange with business partners and customers.

Like many of you, all staff of Dr. Gupta Verlags GmbH initially worked from home. We have implemented short-time work and have distributed our magazines only digitally owing to the lack of analogue distribution channels, such as trade fairs and conferences, but also because in most companies many employees could only be reached in the home office.

But as human beings we need external stimuli, sensory stimuli and emotional attention and recognition.

That is why we have decided, in compliance with hygiene recommendations, to take a first step “back to normality” and work again in the office in small and changing teams. Even though there will probably not be any major trade fairs and conferences this year, some of our magazines will gradually be published again, in addition to the online version, as real, tangible, analogue print magazines.

It remains to be seen whether there will really be a “back to normal”, and what this looks like, and whether a “second corona wave” is coming.

But I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, dear readers, contributors, and advertising customers, for your interest in our magazines, your contributions and your loyalty. Without you we would not be able to do the work we do with all our hearts and minds.


I wish you an enjoyable time reading and
...stay healthy!

Indira Gupta


Potholder optimized for LSR injection molding – Resource-efficient benchmarking of injection concepts through virtual optimization

The flow behavior of polymer materials in a cavity depends on numerous factors, and therefore is difficult to predict. Modern simulation technologies support mold and process design by calculating and comparing different injection concepts and ranking them by selected criteria. In this approach, no material resources are wasted while the required effort and time remain minimal. In the case of a highly complex LSR part, mold design and injection concept were optimized upfront, so high-quality parts were successfully produced in the first acceptance run.


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Corona pandemic disrupts conference schedules

The Corona pandemic and ensuing restrictions on events and travel force changes in the planning for three international rubber conferences in autumn 2020. The 2020 International Elastomer Conference (IEC) will take place this October 2020 as a virtual event, the International Rubber Conference (IRC) 2020 has been postponed to April 2021, and the organizers of the World Rubber Summit (WRS) 2020 are considering rescheduling for the second time.


Advanced industrial-scale recompounding system

For some months now, KraussMaffei’s R+D centre at the Hanover site has been equipped with an advanced industrial-scale recompounding system. With the new system the company substantially extends its capacities for customer trials and its own testing activities associated with recycling and recompounding processes.


Automated fatigue crack growth measurement

Metravib has developed a testing solution that allows the study of crack growth in elastomer compounds and the analysis of influential parameters of mechanical excitation and conditioning. The Metravib fatigue crack growth module is an addition to the Metravib Dynamic Mechanical Analyzers from the DMA+ series and a useful tool for comparing the properties of rubber compounds according to their composition.


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Sumitomo Bakelite: New European manufacturing line for epoxy encapsulation materials

Due to the recent rapid adoption of electric (EV) and hybrid (HV) vehicles, coupled with increasingly complex IT systems in new mobility solutions, Sumitomo Bakelite is now expanding its production capacity to meet the increasing demand for epoxy encapsulation materials in automotive applications.


New technology uses radio frequency instead of steam to sinter foam beads for packaging, construction or vehicles – Fraunhofer ICT is extending research in the field of foaming technologies

Foams produced by moulding are used for example in packaging for electrical appliances, bicycle and motorcycle helmets, armrests in cars and many other applications. In the production process, foamed plastic beads are sintered using steam in order to form components. The choice of materials is therefore limited to those that can be joined within the temperature and pressure range of classic steam moulding processes (between 1 and 8 bar), for example polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).


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ANRPC: Natural Rubber Trends and Statistics

The Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) has released its “Natural Rubber Trends and Statistics” for July 2020. From this issue onwards the report will include three more statistical tables providing the statistical updates and forecasts of NR industry in Guatemala, Columbia, and Mexico.


Next Fakuma to take place in 2021 in Friedrichshafen, Germany – Schall launches virtual platform for 2020

In cooperation with the Fakuma exhibitor advisory board, the trade fair organiser P. E. Schall GmbH & Co. KG has decided in July 2020 – to “postpone” the 27th Fakuma to the year 2021 after all. The international trade fair for plastics processing will now take place from 12 – 16 October 2021 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, the date originally scheduled for Fakuma 2021.


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3D printing latex rubber

Virginia Tech researchers have discovered a novel process to 3D print latex rubber, unlocking the ability to print a variety of elastic materials with complex geometric shapes. 3D printed latex has been documented only a handful of times in scientific literature. None of the previous examples come close to the mechanical properties of the latex printed by an interdisciplinary team affiliated with the Macromolecules Innovation Institute (MII), the College of Science, and the College of Engineering.


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Providee: Corona breathing masks made in Germany

Already at the beginning of March this year, at a time when most people did not yet suspect how dramatically the corona virus would spread, the Upper Franconian company Providee GmbH was already thinking about how to react to the expected worldwide lack of protective equipment against the virus. The answer was the idea of a reusable mask made of a thermoplastic elastomer, which is manufactured entirely in Germany.


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IKV: 30th International Colloquium Plastics Technology to be held strictly digital

From 8 – 11 September 2020, the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) will, for the first time, stage the 30th International Colloquium Plastics Technology in a completely digital form, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The IKV anniversary colloquium 2020 – in combination with the International Symposium on Plastics Technology, which will take place digitally one day before the colloquium on 7 September 2020 – offers participants a wide variety of future-oriented and practical research highlights from the world of plastics.


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Factors influencing curing, physical, electrical, and processing properties of automotive EPDM compounds – Effect of different carbon black types

In order to meet 2025 European Union (EU) emissions target of 78 g CO2/km, several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are looking into weight-reduction strategy of replacing high strength steel car doors to light-weight Magnesium/Aluminum (Mg/Al) doors. When the steel doors are replaced by less noble metals Mg/Al, it results in electrochemical corrosion of the EPDM sealing profiles and partly, in oxidation of the metal surface. In order to eliminate this corrosion, the volume resistivity of EPDM profiles is required to be increased from 106 Ω cm to ≥108 Ω cm. These higher resistivity values can be easily achieved by reduction of carbon black content in the compound to below its percolation threshold. However, reducing the carbon black content has an adverse effect on compound curing, physical, and processing properties. In this paper, the influence of different carbon black types onto the overall electrical and mechanical properties of the final compounds is reported. The high volume resistivity (≈1014 Ω cm) was obtained with carbon black types having lower surface area and lower structure. Additionally, the best mechanical and extrusion properties were also achieved with the carbon black type of lower surface area and lower structure.


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The Co-operation – Steel cord adhesion mixtures without cobalt and resorcinol

In the tire industry, cobalt salts and resorcinol resins are commonly part of mixtures for steel cord adhesion. However, regarding sustainability, work safety and environmental issues, these compounds have been increasingly considered as critical in recent years. Within the scope of a joint research cooperation, Brüggemann and Allnex developed a product, that allows the elimination of both cobalt and resorcinol from steel cord adhesion mixtures.


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Bis-DMTD as ETU replacement in polychloroprene

1,3-ethylene thiourea (ETU), an efficient curing agent for polychloroprene rubber (CR) and widely used accelerator for EPDM has been classified as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) after REACH evaluation. The French chemicals producer MLPC International has launched a complete study to identify the most appropriate safe replacement solution. A solution based on Bis-dimercapto-thiadiazole (Bis-DMTD) has proved most suitable. It is classified non-CMR and requires no complementary compliance test by ECHA.


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Overview of ongoing long-term ageing investigations on elastomer seals

At the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) in Division 3.4 Safety of Storage Containers, one of our tasks is to evaluate the safety of containers designed for disposal of low and intermediate radioactive waste. As such containers might be transported before and stored until disposal, safe enclosure of the radioactive inventory is important for this time span. Elastomer O-rings are widely used as barrier seals in these containers. Thus, as for many other applications, an understanding of the practical effects of ageing degradation on elastomer seals during long-term exposure is mandatory for predicting the lifetime of such components. According to a long-term test programme on three kinds of rubbers (EPDM and FKM, relevant for application, and HNBR for comparison), over several years we have studied the degradation and the change of mechanical properties (e.g. hardness, strain at break) at four different ageing temperatures (75 °C, 100 °C, 125 °C and 150 °C) as well as the change of sealing properties. Continuous and intermittent compression stress relaxation (CSR) measurements were performed in order to investigate the respective contribution of crosslinking and chain scission to the observed degradation effects. Thus, the degradation kinetics and mechanisms could be resolved more clearly. For assessing the seal performance, compression set (CS) and leakage rate measurements were conducted. The experimental results showed that the O-rings remained leak-tight under purely static conditions even when CSR, CS and mechanical properties already indicated far advanced degradation. For this reason, a modified leakage test involving a small and rapid partial decompression of the seal was developed that enabled determining an end-of-lifetime criterion for O-rings with a safety margin for thermal shrinkage and vibrations.


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