Bioplastics Award 2017

And the winner is... IamNature

Materials - Tuesday, 12 December 2017

This year the prestigious Bioplastics Award was given to Maip (Settimo Torinese, Italy) for a newly developed PHBH compound for ABB Light switch covers.

“IamNature” is a special PHBH-based compound, available in tailor made grades and suitable for high temperature applications. It offers a sustainable solution preserving the technical properties of a traditional thermoplastic material. Maip has developed different bioplastics that are sold under the brand “IamNature” for several years. These PHBH-based grades are compounded with mineral fillers, with water-repellent properties, natural fillers, natural based colours and additives of vegetal origin as well as functional components for specific requirements. The PHBH can also be blended with other biobased products such as PLA, or with other biodegradable materials such as PBS, PBSA, PBAT, and others.

For a new series of switch cover frames that should have an advanced design and a remarkable environment sustainability connotation, ABB was looking for a bioplastic material that could replace engineering polymers such as ABS or PC/ ABS. In a joint development ABB and Maip succeeded in creating a special IamNature grade that is suitable to satisfy all the multiple requirements of the component. The new compound exhibits particular properties such as high dimensional stability, thermal resistance (about 130°C), superior UV and light resistance, easy colourability and easy mouldability in multi cavity moulds. Easy processability and specific electric features, such as, for example, a glow wire of 650°C at 2 mm.

The most severe test of all, the scratch resistance, led to the development of special grades that show surprising mar/scratch resistance values also in case of matte textures. The main properties that were achieved, allow the definition of the new IamNature as an actual bio-engineering polymer that also allows to eliminate the painting (because of its good mass colourability), dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of the component. The switch covers were officially introduced to the European market in September 2017.

The panel of judges singled out this application of light switch covers “as a good example that shows that the right combination of polyhydroxyalkanoate polymers with other naturally based ingredients can lead to sophisticated applications”, as Michael Thielen, publisher of bioplastics magazine pointed out during the award ceremony.

The trophy is again made entirely from bioplastics. It was 3D-printed from different PLA/PHA based compounds filled with wood and different metal powders fillers. bioplastics magazine is grateful to colorFabb (Venlo, the Netherlands) who printed the base-plate using their woodFill filament. The logo is made from brassFill and the two leaves are made from copperFill. Logo and leaves were tumbled and polished to enhance the metal gloss effect.

The prize was awarded by bioplastics magazine to the winning companies on November 28, during the European Bioplastics Conference in Berlin, Germany.


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