Safe and metal-free railway industry

Safe and metal-free railway industry

The railway industry is among the most active in the process of replacing metal and many thermosetting plastics.
The purpose is to gain lightness, compatibility with the environment and, of course, performance.

LATI has long since decided to believe in this innovation, and has expanded its range of EN 45545 and NFF16 101-102 certified materials also including compounds especially designed for highest mechanical, electrical, and flame resistance performance, such as LATAMID 66 H2 G/50-V0HF1.
Based on PA66 and with 50% glass fiber reinforcement, this compound provides a tensile strength of nearly 2,000 kg/cm2 without, however, becoming brittle, is UL94 V0 certified up to 0.75 mm, and provides excellent resistance to creeping currents, with a certified CTI of 600V.

The body of the new rotary switch manufactured by SPII, a leading Italian company in the design and manufacture of integrated driver desks and components for trains and subways, is made from LATAMID 66 H2 G/50-V0HF1.
Switch body and actuating lever requirements are drastic, as properly imposed by the sector of use. Static mechanical performance is to be associated to reliability over time, with a specifically high resistance to creep and fatigue.

Thermal requirements should consider operating temperatures from -40°C to +70°C, a range that is easily manageable by the selected LATAMID 66.
Certification of compliance with EN 45545 standard was also successfully obtained by LATAMID 66 H2 G/50-V0HF1 with a HL3 classification for the set of requirements R22 and R23.

This ensures absolute material reliability and safety as regards self-extinguishing properties and dangerous fumes for use both inside and outside the car body.
The innovative proposal by SPII becomes a new element of pride for the production of LATI, and confirms the common will to continue along the path that leads to the sale of increasingly high-performance and safe products for the customer and the environment.

Self-extinguishing materials now even 50% recyclable!

Self-extinguishing materials now even 50% recyclable!

Reducing the impact on the environment and human health: a fundamental cross-cutting theme for products and processes of the entire industrial world.
LATI is traditionally attentive to conduct its activities and propose materials in full compliance with the most stringent safety rules in the conversion, use and disposal of compounds placed on the market.

This is proved, for example, by the RoHS and Reach compliance of every grade belonging to the company’s product portfolio, the ISO 14000 certification, and the development of the LATIGEA sustainable product range.
The development of HF1, a family of halogen, red phosphorus, and antimony free self-extinguishing materials is also included in this context.
Recycling of already processed materials is naturally placed in the context of reduction in raw material consumption and complex production waste management.

Driven by these facts and particularly attentive customers, LATI wanted to get the approval by UL, an internationally recognized certification body, for the recovery of up to 50% by weight of production waste from one of the most important self-extinguishing grades of its range, LATAMID 66 H2 G/25-V0CT1.
UL officially allows the recovery of 25% by weight of already converted material.
Now, with this new approval, it will be possible to increase the amount of recoverable product, thus not only reducing the environmental impact associated with the production of plastic waste, but also obtaining a significant reduction in the cost of the finished product.
LATAMID 66 H2 G/25-V0CT1 is a flame retardant compound based on 25% glass fiber reinforced PA66 in which flame resistance and excellent GWFI and GWIT values are obtained with heat stabilized halogenated systems.

It is the CT1 formula that also allows subsequent molding operations without incurring significant degradation and deterioration of electrical, mechanical and flame protection properties. UL validated the extraordinary CT1 behavior, which did not show performance reduction, with 50% recovery in all colors.
This new approval makes the already brilliant CT1 proposal even more attractive for a variety of electrical and electronic applications both in industry – where the CT1 offers an extraordinary GWFI of 960°C – and the appliance sector, where self-extinguishing properties at low thicknesses require particularly high GWIT and GWEP.

Lightened structural compounds without blowing agents

Lightened structural compounds without blowing agents

Lightweight and strength are two properties that can hardly coexist.
For injection molded applications using thermoplastic compounds, structural materials with specific weights below 1.4-1.6 g/cc are difficult to imagine.
For most projects, densities of between 1 and 2 g/cc are not a problem, because they represent a considerable step forward compared to metals.

However, a weight reduction of even a few grams can provide enormous benefits to all those applications in which the inertia of the moving parts, also linked to the weight of the part, is the problem to be overcome to obtain, for example, shorter actuation times and lower energy consumption.

The conventional solution using blowing agents is not always easy to manage, and the results may not be up to the project requirements.
The LATIMASS 67-04 D009 compound is an effective tool for obtaining a remarkable lightening of structural polyamide-based thermoplastics.

Strengths of this LATI’s grade are both the matrix and the hollow glass spheres, a filler with very low apparent density behaving just like a blowing agent, but without the annoying limitations of systems based on the formation of gas cells in the polymer melt.
In fact, the hollow spheres have a defined geometry that is not altered during the molding process; once well dispersed in the compound, they are able to reduce the density of the resulting material by almost 20%, but in a homogeneous and uniform way.
The matrix of LATIMASS 67, instead, maintains the mechanical performance, so much so that the use of this compound as a master does not imply, in fact, tangible reductions in mechanical strength or embrittlement.

LATI Innovation Day

LATI Innovation Day

Promoting the concept of innovation across the conversion chain from the manufacturer of raw material to the OEM: this is the purpose of the first Innovation Day that LATI has offered to its customers on April 13th, 2016.

The themes behind the event also served as a thread for the meeting. First, the wish to consider the LATI company as in the center of an information circulation system in which the transfer of ideas is catalyzed by the company’s strategic position placed, by its nature, between end user, designers and converters.
From this strategic point of observation the wish arises to select the best customers among end users, molders and mold manufacturers, and to allow them to show their ideas and skills in a special display.

The contact between the various players and the exchange of proposals and solutions show not only the current state-of-the-art of the various technologies, but also the redefinition of project requirements based on the evolution of requirements, regulations and economic megatrends.
During the meeting, each reporter has explained the execution of an important project, in which technical and technological challenges have been faced and overcome using special materials, design and high-level technical measures, as well as cutting-edge processes.
The subjects of reports offered by LATI’s Customers were the most diverse: from the continuous evolution of metal replacement for structural use to the function integration, from the use of MuCell technology to improve the quality of surface finishes to the optimization of the mold layout.

Frontier proposals were also discussed in relation, for example, to the use of industrial automation in advanced molding, the integration of more busted functions, the 3D-MID technology and the use of special filaments for 3D printing of functional products and prototypes.
The goal of described solutions and processes is definitely productivity, understood as the ability to make best use of own resources – primarily equipment, time and capital – in order to produce the largest quantity of goods, of course, at the highest quality.
The exceptional feedback generated by this first Innovation Day opens the door to the next edition, scheduled for 2017, in which other LATI’s customers will have the opportunity to exchange ideas to increase and improve specialization and competitiveness.

Adjustable steering column benefits forklift operators

Adjustable steering column benefits forklift operators

A major manufacturer of forklifts and other industrial vehicles designed a tilt steering column that can be adjusted to accommodate operators getting in and out of them.
Facilitating movement of the column through a 30° arc are two special, solid polymer bearings that GGB produces using self-lubricating thermoplastic compounds LATILUB by LATI.

The uniquely shaped bearings feature an elongated face flange to prevent misalignment of the system with holes at either end for securing them with fasteners. They center and support a 145mm long shaft that oscillates, allowing the steering column to be tilted for safer, easier entry and exit from the vehicle.
The bearings have an inner diameter of 25mm, an outer diameter of 28 – 30 mm on the slightly flanged back side of the bearing, length of 22.5mm, and width of 35mm. Overall length of this configuration is 75mm.

Operating speeds are negligible; loads on the bearings are relatively small at 600 to 700 newtons; and movements can range from 5 and 30 times per day, depending on how and where the vehicles are used.
The company turned to GGB Bearing Technology to replace these bearings, providing drawings and specifications. The bearings it had been using contained glass fibers which accelerated wear on the system’s oscillating shaft.
GGB selected the material for the new bearings based on application data supplied by the company.

The material selected by GGB is its EP®22 thermoplastic bearing compound developed by LATI. Bearings made of this material perform well in both dry and lubricated applications, are corrosion-resistant, and comply with EVL, WEEE and RoHS regulations. EP®22 is an extremely robust, PTFE-modified polybutylenterephtalate (PBT) material with low moisture absorption, low friction and excellent machinability. It can withstand operating temperatures of -50°C to +170°C. Maximum sliding speed is 1.0 m/s, and coefficient of friction is 0.22 to 0.37. “This material does not contain glass fibers, which was important to the customer,” explains GGB Automotive Project Engineer Andreas Epli. “
In addition it provides a damping effect, making the eystern operate more smoothly.” GGB developed the tooling for injection molding sample bearings for testing by the customer.

The bearings performed extremely well in these tests, according to Epli, and GGB is receiving serial orders for full production. LATI offers to its Customers outstanding properties of LATILUB compounds and know-how of its technicians.

STOP to food contamination with plastics

STOP to food contamination with plastics

As is known, the costs associated with the withdrawal from the market of entire supplies of finished product due to quality or safety problems may be really significant.

For a company operating in the food sector, this is a huge risk in terms of image, reliability, and credibility, which are elements often built with years of strenuous industrial and marketing choices.
One of the most frequent causes of withdrawal is the food contamination with plastic parts from the various stages of production, conversion, packaging and storage.
The release of harmful substances may also occur in the presence of foreign elements in the food.
So removing the contaminant particles is often not enough, and more drastic and expensive interventions are required, such as the destruction of whole foodstuffs and supplies.

The basic problem is that the detection of very small particles of synthetic resins is not possible using conventional methods such as metal detectors. In fact, polymers cannot be detected by means of these monitoring techniques if not appropriately modified.
The recent withdrawal campaigns of well known companies, were imposed by the presence of plastic pieces inside the product intended for consumption.

To solve this type of problems, LATI has introduced to the market its range of compounds that can be detected by any instrument for the insulation from metallic contamination.

The family of MDT thermoplastic products is, in fact, formulated starting from conventional plastic materials reinforced with special ceramic powders able to change the magnetic field of detectors. In this way, even the smallest contamination from plastic particles can be immediately detected, making the entire production cycle safe. MDT compounds have been developed for injection molding, but can also be engineered for other types of processing, e.g. calendering or extrusion.

For this reason, they are suitable for the manufacture of any product, from boxes to containers, from locking systems to any kind of transport line. Temperature and working environment do not represent a limit for MDT compounds, since LATI’s portfolio includes materials suitable for both extreme temperatures (PEEK and PPS) and chemical etching (PP and PA).

The presence of sudden mechanical stresses arising from the use of these products was also considered, and there will be no disappointment with MDT materials as regards strength and toughness.

In fact, compounds made of impact-resistant polypropylene or elastomer are available, which are also excellent for products subject to impacts and vibrations. All MDT compounds are, of course, suitable for contact with food and fully compliant with the most stringent European and worldwide toxicological safety standards.

The replacement of a part made of generic plastics with an MDT compound may occur with marginal cost incidence, but it definitively prevents potentially catastrophic accidents.
LATI’s engineers are always at customers’ disposal to discuss specifications and plans, for defining set-up of design and manufacture, and for the assessment of costs and benefits.

Safety and precision with LATIOHM

Safety and precision with LATIOHM

Svantek, a leading company in the production of noise and vibration meters, has decided to successfully adopt LATIOHM electrically conductive compounds for the manufacture of the case of its new professional SV 104 IS dosimeter.

The reliability of a measuring instrument is linked to the precision with which the signal is collected and managed, so it is essential to avoid the undesirable effects of any external interference due, for example, to the accumulation of electrostatic charges.
For this reason, Svantek has chosen LATIOHM 66-07 PD08 G/30 for the development of a robust, dimensionally stable, and antistatic case.

Thanks to its special formulation, the selected LATIOHM also provides excellent impact resistance, which is always a desirable feature in an industrial environment, the ability to meet tight dimensional tolerances as provided by the most stringent safety and insulation criteria, and resistance to atmospheric agents, especially UV rays.

The interesting performance behavior of this LATI compound helps to ensure the SV 104 acoustic dosimeter meets, in just 117 grams, ATEX directives and IP65 protection degree for safety in explosives environments.
The stabilization and pigmentation of the material also allow the polymer to keep its properties even after intense exposure to ultraviolet radiation as provided by the UL 746C standard, thus extending over time the safe use of the Svantek device in particularly aggressive environments.

LATIOHM 66-07 PD08 G/30 compound d is made from 30% glass fiber reinforced PA66 with the addition to this matrix of carbon fibers and other additives to obtain an electrically conductive material.
Simple to mold even on ordinary equipment thanks to its well manageable shrinkage, LATIOHM 66-07 PD08 G/30 is also an excellent choice for the price/performance ratio. LATI’s engineers are at disposal for any further information about LATIOHM range.

LATICONTHER CP6: Thermal conductivity and electrical insulation

LATICONTHER CP6: Thermal conductivity and electrical insulation

It is known that the most performant thermally conductive compounds are obtained by adding large amounts of selected graphite to the thermoplastic matrix.
However, this high graphite content ends up making these materials electrically conductive, with resistivity values that make them unsuitable for applications also requiring electrical insulation.

As far as thermally conductive compounds using electrically insulating ceramics are concerned, materials available today are limited by a number of constraints imposed by the large quantity of filler necessary to achieve interesting thermal performance, up to 85 percent in some LATI’s proposals.
A thermal conductivity of about 8-10 W/mK is provided by the most effective solutions, but at often unacceptable costs being formulated with very special synthetic materials, such as hexagonal boron nitride.

So the demand has geared towards electrically insulating materials, but with an acceptable thermal conductivity reasonably ranging between 10 and 20 W/mK of compounds with graphite and 1-2 W/mK of grades formulated with standard ceramics.
Of course, the price of this proposal should absolutely support the use in new applications replacing, for example, aluminum die casting.

To meet these requirements, LATI offers LATICONTHER 62 CP6-V0HF1. Based on PA6, this product is made from the mixture of special ceramics provided by the CP6 formulation that ensures electrical insulation with resistivity greater than 10^12 ohm.
At the same time, this formulation provides a thermal conductivity of almost 4 W/mK to the compound (measurement with Netzsch LFA according to ASTM E1530 and E1461 standards).

In addition to the thermal and electrical properties, LATICONTHER 62 CP6-V0HF1 was also designed to provide self-extinguishing properties without the need of conventional flame protection systems based on halogens or red phosphorus.
Currently awaiting UL approval, LATICONTHER 62 CP6-V0HF1 offers excellent resistance to electrical tracking (400 V CTI), V0 at 3.2 mm, 775° C GWIT and 960° C GWFI at 1 mm.
Rigid and tough without being overly fragile, this material is best suited for technical applications such as heat sinks in the electrical and electronic field, air or recessed lighting, and overmolding of live components generating heat (e.g. inductors). As mentioned before, the CP6 proposal also arises from the need to hold down the price of material.

So a special formulation was developed that makes performance of thermal conductivity similar to that of graphite-filled versions at a moderate cost. The only limit of CP6 is that it is not possible to obtain colorable versions.
This problem was solved by LATI’s engineers with the CP7 formulation, which is slightly more expensive, but colorable. Like any other LATI material, even in this case the formulation complies with the most stringent international standards in terms of environmental protection and human health (RoHs and SVHC).

Easy molding and recyclability complete the framework of strengths offered by LATI thermoplastics.

New concept brush holders in thermoplastic compound

New concept brush holders in thermoplastic compound

LATAMID 66 H2 G/50-V0HF1: LATI’s proposal for metal and thermoset replacement in structural applications also requiring self-extinguishing properties.
Here is a new success for one of the most innovative compounds recently developed by LATI.
SELNI has chosen LATAMID 66 H2 G/50-V0HF1 for the manufacture of new brush holder arm used in electric motors, generators, and power transfer systems.

The arm is the seat of the conductive graphite element in charge of electric power transmission to the device.
The design of this component requires an extremely tough and reliable material even at a working temperature exceeding 100°C, for both obvious structural reasons and ensuring a continuous and constant contact between the graphite electrode and live parts.

Other aspects of equal importance in this particular project are the tracking resistance, which with LATAMID 66 H2 G/50-V0HF1 is 600 V, and the UL94 self-extinguishing level, V0 certified on thicknesses between 0.75 and 3 mm.

Dimensionally stable and easily convertible, LATAMID 66 H2 G/50-V0HF1 has been also chosen for its low environmental impact ensured by the formulation compliant to RoHS regulations and halogen and red phosphorus free.
The V0HF1 material is a perfect replacement for conventional brass components, which are expensive to manufacture due to the number of geometrically complex parts.

This material is also best suited as an alternative to thermosetting composites, which, by definition, are non-recyclable and problematic from the environmental point of view.
In this case, the V0HF1 proposal replaced traditional PA66 reinforced by 50% glass fibres, featuring red phosphorous as flame retardant.

A major issue was then solved, that is production of potentially hazardous compounds of red phosphorous after prolonged exposure to environmental moisture.

LASTILUX light conductors and Gruner AG

LASTILUX light conductors and Gruner AG

LASTILUX is the name assigned by LATI to a new family of thermoplastic materials used for the light transport.
Two different types of these compounds have been developed:

  • OPAL LASTILUX, able to create perfectly homogenous diffusion effects, with desired opalescence levels, useful, for example, in applications where the light coming from a point source is to be diffused hiding, however, the presence of such source, typically LEDs.
  • COLORED LASTILUX; green, yellow or red, able to absorb light in the UV region and re-emit it in the visible region with fluorescence effect.

If well exploited working on low thicknesses and proper geometries, this phenomenon allows to direct the diffuse light where desired, giving the impression that the light is emitted by the object.

If products are directly irradiated with UV frequencies (as may occur in certain types of detection), this effect may be further enhanced. Gruner AG, a German leading company in the field of relays and actuators, has chosen and successfully applied LASTILUX 87/28 for the manufacture of a cursor used in one of its actuators for the sector of ventilation and air conditioning.

The design requirements for this signal lamp are well defined and range from perfect surface quality and aesthetics typical of visible elements, to the correct handling of the light beam through the geometry of the part, from the absolute dimensional stability to the coloring reliability.
For this reason, a transparent PC-based compound was chosen, featuring not only all technical requirements mentioned above, but also a particularly good color rendering.

The formulation of the LASTILUX compound has negligible effects on thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties of the base resin, which remain substantially unchanged.
The usual ease of conversion of LATI compounds is also ensured, in this case without affecting the light effects.