BILLERICA, Mass.—Cabot Corp. has released commercial grades of its Transfinity-brand elastomer composites designed for mining uses and also for noise, vibration and harshness applications in automotive and aerospace uses.
The Billerica-based company launch-ed the Transfinity line early this year. The elastomer composites are made in a liquid phase mixing process where the carbon black is predispersed in an aqueous solution and then mixed directly with natural rubber latex.
Cabot claims the resulting material is structurally different from compounds mixed in the solid state, giving better dispersion of the carbon black and improvements in material properties.
Cabot invented the technology about 10 years ago but focused early development on tire applications, where much of the NR is used, said David Reynolds, business manager for Cabot Elastomer Composites. The firm signed a contract in 2008 with Michelin for the exclusive use of the technology in tires.
With that pact in place, he said the carbon black firm turned its attention to non-tire applications, leading to the launch of the Transfinity brand this year.
The XD7050 line was commercialized for mining applications such as mill furniture, screen panels, slurry pumps, cyclones, and chute liners and impact panels.
For anti-vibration products, Cabot introduced SD6050 for extended durability and DF4060 and DF2055 for design flexibility.
Reynolds said the lines can be used in engine and transmission mounts, suspension bushings, rotor mounts, torque restrictors, and flexible bearings and couplings.
In addition, the Transfinity materials are being used in products for tracked vehicles, both in military and commercial sectors.
"Products are proven to work in these applications," Reynolds said. "It's not just being tested. We are making sales in non-tire applications already."
Cabot is producing the Transfinity lines at a plant in Malaysia to be near sources of high-quality NR latex, he said.
The materials do carry a price premium for the raw material, but company officials said that can be made up in added value and savings.
"For example, in mining applications, extending the life of that equipment and the life of the liners can be a huge cost saver and well worth the premium in terms of the raw material," Reynolds said.
The company sees potential for strong business in mining in all regions of the world, while the top automotive suppliers primarily still are in Japan, North America and Western Europe, so that is where most of the auto opportunities are expected.
While most gains in terms of reinforcing agents over the years have been what he would call evolutionary, he sees the Transfinity brand as more revolutionary in nature.
"There's no question Cabot sees this as a game changer for us as a company," Reynolds said. "It moves the needle on performance of NR products in a way that hasn't happened in many years."