Foam industry set to expand

The polymer foam industry is set to grow by 2.5% annually over the next 10 years driven by thermal and acoustic insulation and lightweighting, in key industries including in transportation and construction.

Enabling its further application has led chemical giant SABIC to develop the physical properties and foamability of the polymers themselves. SABIC is expanding its portfolio to include more polyolefins (including POP elastomers and POP plastomers), and engineering thermoplastics such as LEXAN polycarbonate, modified PPE (NORYL) and PEI (ULTEM).

Several breakthrough innovations are in the process of being commercialised including SABIC LDPE 2502X0, which offers special benefits for the physical foam extrusion process, as well for the resulting lightweight foams. SABIC LDPE 2402CX0 offers benefits for crosslinkable (XL) foam extrusion processes. SABIC has also developed a series of fast converting foam material solutions that provides further improvements in the production efficiencies of foam manufacturers. SABIC LDPE 2102FC is the first in a series of products that combine up to 50% savings in degassing time – reducing the foam manufacturer’s inventory – and an improvement in production efficiency of up to 5% through less production waste and better foam consistency.

The polymer foam-producing industry currently consumes around 25 million metric tonnes of plastics every year.

Justin Cunningham

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