Beads of innovation - Sulzer Chemtech and Borealis have completed the development of an innovative process for the cost-effective extrusion of expanded polypropylene (ePP) beads
As opposed to conventional autoclave production methods, Sulzer Chemtech’s innovative system relies on extrusion with direct gas impregnation, offering an easy to implement alternative with a quick return on investment. Foam molders, such as packaging manufacturers, can implement the compounding line to considerably reduce the costs associated with material supply, warehousing and intermediate transportation. As a result, companies can offer ePP parts at more competitive prices while supporting the adoption of easy to recycle polyolefin applications.
Additional benefits include having full control over the properties of the ePP, such as bulk density, closed cell content and bead size distribution, as well as maximum flexibility in fine-tuning the recipes. Also, the highly automatized process keeps maintenance requirements low and simplifies operations. Besides, the extruded beads can be subsequently easily processed with standard steam pressure in steam chest molding machines to obtain molded bead foam products with specific shapes. In addition, Sulzer Chemtech and Borealis are developing an alternative that can use carbon dioxide, supporting different customer needs and plant settings.
“Collaborating with an industry leader like Sulzer has been a pleasure,” comments Christopher McArdle, Borealis Vice President Polyolefins Strategy & New Business Development. “Life demands progress. This innovation will drive further the adoption of our PP foam solutions, supporting the transition to a circular economy of plastics. This is how we re-invent for more sustainable living.”
Torsten Wintergerste, Division President of Sulzer Chemtech, concludes: “We are extremely pleased with the advanced ePP production line that we have developed together with Borealis. The result of this collaboration truly attests to the extensive expertise of both companies. Using our latest solution, customers will be able to benefit from cutting-edge equipment with enhanced performance as well as high-quality PP for the production of best-in-class foams.”
Borealis is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced and circular polyolefin solutions and a European market leader in base chemicals, fertilizers and the mechanical recycling of plastics. We leverage our polymers expertise and decades of experience to offer value adding, innovative and circular material solutions for key industries. In re-inventing for more sustainable living, we build on our commitment to safety, our people and excellence as we accelerate the transformation to a circular economy and expand our geographical Footprint.
With head offices in Vienna, Austria, Borealis employs 6,900 employees and operates in over 120 countries. In 2020, Borealis generated EUR 6.8 billion in sales revenue and a net profit of EUR 589 million. OMV, the Austria-based international oil and gas company, owns 75% of Borealis, while the remaining 25% is owned by a holding company of the Abu-Dhabi based Mubadala. We supply services and products to customers around the globe through Borealis and two important joint ventures: Borouge (with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, or ADNOC, based in UAE); and Baystar™ (with Total, based in the US).
Borealis: Virginia Mesicek, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Brand & Reputation
tel.: +43 1 22 400 772
Head of Marketing Communications Chemtech
Sulzer Management Ltd