Polyethylene was discovered in 1933 by Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett at the British industrial giant Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). This material evolved into two forms, low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE).

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promo_imagine SPE - Society of Plastics Engineers SPI - The Plastics Industry Trade Association

Industries / Overview

Are you foaming plastics? Why not? Discover the many industries using foamed plastics below.

Transmission Pipelines

(Underground Pipes)

Fossil fuel pipelines are expected to be a safe and efficient means of energy transportation. Originating in wells in various supply regions around the world, these fuels will travel thousands of miles to their destination markets. Impurities are removed at treatment plants, and from there, usable product flows through the mainline, compressed at intervals along the way to propel it forward. Finally, the oil or gas is transported to local distribution companies that deliver them to customers in various industries and homes.

Transporting this precious commodity requires pipeline that is dependable. One of the world's largest manufacturers of subsea oil and gas transmission pipelines depends on SAFOAM products to give consistent and beneficial results. Aside from weight reduction and faster throughput, this company has found that they reliably achieve uniform foamed thermal insulation, and meet precise density, compressive creep resistance and thermal conductivity criteria.

Food Packaging

Trays and Films, Labels on Soda Bottles, KFC Bowl

Food packaging plays a primary role in our convenience-oriented society. Pre-packaged meat and produce, fast food and take-out container manufacturing contribute greatly to the use of plastics that will ultimately be thrown away. Packaging technology must therefore balance convenience with food protection, energy and material costs, heightened social and environmental consciousness, and strict regulations on pollutants and disposal of municipal solid waste.

As a chemical foaming agent, SAFOAM contributes to environmental responsibility by providing a means to food packaging manufacturers to reduce polymer use, energy and overall costs. As a nucleating agent, SAFOAM has allowed significant reductions in the use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), which have a high Global Warming Potential (GWP). Our products contain only naturally occurring materials and are G.R.A.S. (generally recognized as safe) by the FDA for direct food contact.

Transportation

Automotive, Aerospace, Marine

C.A.F.E. (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards are currently less than 30 miles per gallon in the U.S., but new agreements call for higher standards of 54.5 mpg by the year 2025. Numerous methods will contribute to meeting these goals. Reducing vehicle weight will be the primary method, and SAFOAM will continue to play a role. Parts large and small - brackets, instrument panels, doors, overheads - the entire auto body - are candidates for foamed thermoplastics.

Light-weighting is one benefit of foaming. A molded component with a closed, evenly-dispersed microcellular structure allows for parts with better dimensional stability, faster cycle times, improved thermal insulation and sound-deadening. Extruded body side molding and thermoformed panels can see similar benefits.

Building and Construction

Decking, Fencing, Trim Molding

Plastic building materials have seen tremendous and continual growth in the building and construction industry. Above all, professionals find plastic building materials easy to maintain. More and more designers and owners prefer plastic building materials because they require little to no maintenance, and can withstand heavy use and harsh elements.

Plastic building products are affordable, durable, and safe. As better quality plastic building products with more design appeal have become available, new materials are offering an array of design solutions. SAFOAM is currently utilized in such applications as window profiles, trim molding, siding and decking. Straighter profiles, increased load-bearing strength and improved insulation accompany lighter weights and faster throughput. SAFOAM has also been used as a special effect colorant for faux wood, as an alternative to lamination.

Medical Devices

The medical devices market has evolved with respect to the types of devices produced, substrates selected, and sterilization procedures utilized. In the early 1970s, manufacturers were using glass, rubber, and metal to assemble syringes, surgical instruments, and other devices. Products made from such materials were typically machined, molded, or assembled with fasteners. The 1980s saw expanded use of engineering plastics. These materials became indispensable for use in intricate, high-performance device designs. A shift to single-use devices caused design engineers to consider polymers like acrylic, polycarbonate, and PVC.

Advances in high performance polymers and the associated merits of plastics over other materials have expanded the opportunities of plastics in the medical industry, not only in devices but also in packaging. Price pressures in the healthcare industry are also driving the development of high-quality, low cost alternative polymers. Approved for direct food/medical contact by the FDA, SAFOAM has been used in diagnostic equipment and jackets for surgical tubing.

Wire and Cables

CAT V, Outside Coating of Wire

Plastic coated cables are wires that have been treated with a polymer coat to allow for increased wear, flexibility and easy handling. Plastic coated cables and wire are popular in a number of industries as they offer increased protection and improved aesthetics.

SAFOAM's microcellular structure adds to the flexibility and protective properties without compromising signal strength. It is not for use in high voltage applications.

Lawn and Garden

Hose, "nevrkink®"(available at Lowe's and HD), Adirondack Chairs

Plastic garden furniture is the perfect choice if you are looking for something to leave outside all year long. Lightweight, durable and weather-proof, a quick wipe-down and it's ready for use. Design flexibility and unlimited color choices make plastic garden furniture ideal for rigid profiles like park benches, decking & railing; flexible extrusions like garden hose and fatigue mats; injection molded post caps, tables, chairs and loungers, and so much more.

Lighter weights, straighter profiles and improved load bearing are hallmarks of SAFOAM's contributions. Additives for improved performance in Wood-Plastic composites allow higher wood content and lighter weight. Several SAFOAM products can be used as a compatibilizer for recycled resins, furthering our commitment to environmental responsibility.

Household Appliances

Major home appliances can benefit from SAFOAM's ability to reduce a significant amount of weight on mechanical parts while retaining strength and functionality. Thermoformed refrigerator interiors can achieve lighter weights while improving thermal insulation. Dishwashers with foamed interiors can see similar benefits while also improving sound deadening.

P.O.P. Displays

Using signage and graphics is an excellent way to grab your customer's attention, influence shoppers at a critical moment and lift sales. Display merchandise with eye-catching graphics that are strong, durable, and cost efficient are important for any business.

SAFOAM advanced additives allow for significantly increased throughput and substantial weight reductions. 20%, 30%, 40% and higher are possible without causing embrittlement to the sheet. No sink marks and whiter sheets with less TiO2 result in improved printing ability.

Household Items

Think about all the things you touch throughout the day that are made of plastic. Toothbrushes, containers, broom handles and blocks, toys and play equipment are all made of plastic. Years ago, many of these items would have been made of glass, wood or metal. Due to energy efficiency, durability and design flexibility, plastic has become the product of choice in manufacturing so many of the items we use every day. The addition of SAFOAM to the manufacturing process reduces cost by allowing a 25% improvement in production time while providing lighter, stiffer parts without compromising the part's integrity.

Window Manufacturing

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