ANAHEIM, Calif.—Dow Chemical Co.'s epoxy intermediates and reactive silicone in separate categories and a 3M Co. medical tape were among the 14 product winners of 2018 Golden Mousetrap Awards for engineering innovations.
Results of the 17th annual North American competition were announced during a Feb. 6 ceremony in Anaheim.
Dow, a part of DowDuPont Inc., and 3M won prizes in the competition's materials and assembly section.
Epoxy in high-volume auto composites
Dow Automotive Systems of Auburn, Mich., won in the engineering plastics and composites, metals and alloys category. Its Vorafuse-brand P6300 epoxy intermediates enables the use of aligned carbon fiber and epoxy resin chemistry to produce structural automotive components.
Such use of fabric-based preimpregnated material for high-volume applications "has never been achieved," Dow said in its entry form.
P6300 delivers novel chemistry that has tack-free haptics for automated handling, room-temperature shelf stability, automated fast-performing Snap-style curing, ultra-fast part processing and the ability to recycle in-plant prepreg scrap.
Typically, for comparison, the aerospace industry utilizes prepreg that is not self-stable and uses slow autoclave-based processes.
Dow said it scaled Vorafuse P6300 to commercial metrics for viable manufacturing rates in three projects each involving production of 3,280 linear feet of prepreg to demonstrate process automation and ultra-fast processing capabilities.
Molded part configurations included flat plaques, double dome moldings and, ultimately in a Ford Fusion demonstrator vehicle, a B-pillar insert replacing steel and deemed suitable for high-volume automotive applications. The B-pillar change showed a saving of 13.2 pounds of mass per vehicle with no apparent sacrifice in performance.
Solving problems in electronics assembly
Dow Performance Silicones in Midland, Mich., won in the fastening, joining and assembly component category. Its patented EA-4600 LV reactive neutral-cure silicone is the consumer electronics market's only hot-melt adhesive, said Glenn Gordon, principal scientist of the advanced elastomers business.
The material solved a customer's major problem in 2016 with incumbent organic adhesives for electronic assemblies.
Process optimization and consolidation eliminated the need for secondary room-temperature-vulcanization- and ultra-violet-cure adhesives in the customer's smartphone assembly line.
The Dow material improved upon polyurethanes in terms of adhesion to silicone elastomers and durability to sweat and outperformed cyanoacrylate-based secondary adhesives in terms of durability and re-workability.
EA-4600 LV addressed gaps in precision dispensing, durable sealing and adhesion performance. Dow development took 45 days.
Dow fully commercialized EA-4600 LV in February 2017 and released it to the general market in July.
EA-4600 LV also is a finalist for the 2018 Edison Best New Product Awards, which will be presented April 11 in New York.
Extending wear time of fabric medical tape
The health care business segment of St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M won for its 4076 nonwoven extended-wear fabric medical tape on a roll.
The product from 3M's critical and chronic care solutions division consists of a white spunlace polyester backing that is coated with a pressure-sensitive acrylate adhesive.
3M launched the product in August in the U.S. to provide an extended wear product line extension that is easy to handle and convert, breathable and conformable, non-sensitizing and compatible with ethylene-oxide, electron-beam and gamma sterilization procedures.
Potential wear time is listed as 14 days.
In developing 4076 tape, 3M conducted wear time studies. 3M found that a gentle-to-skin solution using a silicone adhesive does not match the wear time duration of an acrylate adhesive.
3M offers 17 products for wearable medical device applications including nine with nonwoven backings, three with polyurethane backings, two each with polyester or thermoplastic elastomer backings and one with a foam backing.
UBM plc's Design News sponsored the 2018 Golden Mousetrap Awards. Winners were selected on design, engineering and functional innovations, benefits to user, market differentiation and competitive landscape.