CLEVELAND—Dow Elastomers is setting an entirely new course for its Nordel EPDM operations with three new Nordel products and two new production facilities, according to company executives.
"We've been on a journey for the past five years," said David Mitchell, Dow global marketing director, performance plastics. "It's an exciting time for us."
Mitchell was interviewed at the International Elastomer Conference in Cleveland Oct. 9-12, where Dow Elastomers—a business unit of the newly formed DowDuPont Material Science—exhibited the new Nordel grades along with other company products.
The new, extra-fast-cure (XFC) Nordel grades will enable auto parts manufacturers and brand owners to make higher-performing weatherstrip parts while meeting consumer demand for lighter weight, safety and aesthetics, according to Dow.
The new grades are:
- Nordel 6555 OE, for Class A manufacturing of sponge weatherstrip profiles;
- Nordel 6565 XFC EPDM, for Class A manufacturing of dense/microdense weatherstrip profiles; and
- Nordel 6530 XFC, for Class A manufacturing of corner injection molds.
The Nordel XFC grades are extremely high-quality, low-gel polymers that provide the optimum balance of surface sealing, part strength and improved elastic and compressive properties, the company said. It is used for sealing applications for car doors, glass and windows, trunk seals, and hood seals, it said.
According to Dow, the XFC grades:
- Deliver high-end surface finish by providing overall improvement in surface quality;
- Meet or exceed requirements to dampen vibrations, isolate road noise and prevent wear of and contact with other metal and plastic components; and
- Meet fuel efficiency targets set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by reducing weatherstrip weight by up to 15 percent.
What makes the new XFC grades possible is the first-of-its kind advanced molecular catalyst technology, which exceeds the capacities of both Ziegler-Natta and metallocene EPDM technologies, according to Dow.
Compared with Ziegler-Natta, advanced molecular catalyst technology offers a 20-25 percent reduction in overall energy use, a nearly 40 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and an on-average 50 percent improvement in overall environmental impact, the company said.
The XFC grades will be manufactured at a new facility in Plaquemine, La., that will be ready for production by December, according to Mitchell.
The Plaquemine plant will produce 440 million pounds of EPDM, Mitchell said. It is one of four facilities DowDuPont Material Science plans to open in the Gulf Coast between now and the end of 2018, he said.
On Sept. 21, Dow opened world-scale ethylene and polyethylene facilities in Freeport, Texas, according to the company.
An EPDM unit is scheduled to open in early 2018, and a unit for the production of high-melt index specialty and conventional polyolefin elastomers will go online in late 2018, it said.
"The really nice thing about our technology is that we have multiple options available," said Seema Karande, Dow associate director for elastomers, electrical and telecommunications TS&D. "We can tailor the molecular architecture for each customers. There are a lot of different paths we can take."
With the new XFC grades and advanced molecular catalyst technology, Dow now has as broad a portfolio as possible, serving multiple markets across the globe, according to the Dow executives.
"We very much want to be a one-stop shop," said Michael White, Dow business development manager for Dow elastomers, electrical and telecommunications.
DowDuPont was officially created Sept. 1 by the merger of Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co.
DowDuPont Material Science will offer both Dow and DuPont products, and customers will see no change in service, according to Mitchell.
"Our commitment to the industry is not only to be a provider of EPDM, but all polyolefin-based elastomers," he said.