ABSTRACT   

In its drive to provide ‘green’ products to the various industries being served, Chemrez Technologies Inc. has been actively pursuing the development of  environmentally friendly products for the market. In particular, composite resins have been employed by low income workers in the province through an altruistic organization that germinated and grew  the company. Seeing how closely the workers were exposed and  intertwined with the application of solvent based unsaturated polyester resins, Chemrez  saw the need to push  the development of eco- friendly  materials for the sustenance of a healthy environment and the promotion of  well being of  the population.

 


 

This need was highlighted by the entry of strong competition coming from neighboring Asian sources  and  by  stringent international regulatory  pressures  to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOC ) and pollutant emissions. These concerns were particularly raised by a very demanding customer, PEBA-Philippines which saw  the threat to  its workers’ livelihood , in particular and the entire local industry , in general. Consequently, the necessity   for the development  of  water based unsaturated polyester resins(UPR) to replace its solvent based  polymer product was further strengthened resulting in the expeditious completion of the project.

 

To meet  these  challenging  requirements, Chemrez Technologies Inc. developed fast curing and environmentally friendly yet cost competitive Polycol Aqua ® resins. The timely development of these water reducible resins proved to be beneficial to a very important customer, PEBA;  to its workers, who have remained employed and the industry which has sustained its operations in the country.

DETAILS

Cebu has traditionally and historically been at the forefront of  pioneering activities in the Philippines. It has earned  world  reputation as the center of exported and domestically supplied  rattan  and wicker based Philippine furnitures, of Philippine guitars  and of Philippine mangoes .It has also been home to  altruistic organizations and Christian ministries and their affiliates such as PEBA Philippines. The latter was originally founded to help develop local Cebu commerce and employment to eventually benefit several thousands of jobless citizens .

 

Through hard work and  proper  business acumen, PEBA succeeded in this venture and has since become one of the country’s largest manufacturers and exporters of polyester based home decorative articles. These end up in malls and  department stores overseas, such as Home Depots , Sam’s Club, etc.

 

In  the  past,  solvent based polyester composites have been employed and fashioned out into home decorative items like figurines,  artificial stones and  outdoor  furnitures  or into fiberglass roofs, or bathroom and kitchen walls and counter tops  . However, due to growing health and wellness consciousness ,  several  US and European  importers and traders have initiated the transformation  towards   environmentally acceptable materials and  products including those in the polyester based home deco composite applications.

 

This direction was quite timely as worldwide environmental laws have become more stringent . Recently,   the California Air Resources Board (CARB) reset  the  target of  427 million  metric tons by the year 2020 or  nearly 30 percent reduction from previous emission levels. Also.  The South Coast Air  District covering  Los Angeles  has further reduced  Volatile Organic Compound (VOC ) levels of  primers, sealers, undercoats to as low as 50 gms/liter from 150 gms/liter starting  in 2008. Limits were likewise adjusted  by the British Coatings Federation or the European Union  through EUR-Lex 32004L0042.

 

With this background, Chemrez Technologies Inc. embarked on a major  program to  develop eco-friendly UPR products to provide  eco- friendly polymer products;  to support and address concerns of  the customers,   workers and industry ; and to mitigate adverse environmental impact on society.Directionally, chemical modification of  polyester laminating resins was undertaken to engineer UPR  polymer products which were :

 

1)      environmentally acceptable

2)      fast curing

3)      cost  competitive

4)      worker friendly

 

PEBA’s  Mr.  Mallory   welcomed   this development of  cost and performance competitive resins  to address  threat posed by cheap imports especially coming from neighboring Asian countries and supported the project led by  Chemrez Technology’s R&D team headed by Mr. Redentor  Hipolito  and Mr. Ronnie Bonus , Marketing Manager.

 

From orthophthalic resin that employed styrene as diluent,  Chemrez  R&D innovated  the conversion of  this chemistry  of  high molecular weight unsaturated polyester resin into a water extendable one. Some novel polymer engineering and chemistries were explored  to address this challenge. Several months of intensive research were needed with countless experimentations and applications studies including customer’s parallel evaluations. 

 

The newly developed candidate products were found to combine  the benefits of  environmental acceptability and mechanical  toughness  to produce  figurines and other composite materials with more resiliency  and  better workmanship with  less breakages.


After a period of  focused and intensive R&D work,  Chemrez  Technologies Inc. finally announced the development of    Polycol Aqua® Resins possessing the following features and benefits :


FEATURES  and  BENEFITS 

 

 - WATER EXTENDABLE. Instead of styrene, Polycol Aqua ® employs water as diluent , which makes it more environmentally acceptable, less flammable, safer and more worker friendly.

 - LOW ODOR. Resulting  from lower styrene emissions and use of water so beneficial to factory workers ; to general users and handlers ; and to the environment.·       

 - LOW EXOTHERMIC REACTION. Thus, relatively easier to work with  and  less stressful on silicone molds


 - SHELF LIFE OF 12 MONTHS. Material is relatively easier to handle  and maintain in inventory.

 - LOW VOC (VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS).Contributes overall to better wellness and health while meeting environmental regulations.


 - COST COMPETITIVE. The use of water as solvent and diluent dramatically reduces material cost thereby improving the cost competitiveness of the product.   

 

 

Polycol Aqua®  belongs to a category of UPR products known as ‘ WEP’ or ‘Water-Extendable Polyesters’. The latter are unsaturated ‘hybrid’ polyesters emulsified with a crosslinker and extendable with ordinary water to produce  ‘plaster-like’ properties but with strong and better mechanical properties.

 

Table 1 below shows the benefits of the ‘hybrid’ UPR  type as properties approach those of the more expensive ‘Iso’  type at a competitive price. 

 

Table   1.  Comparative Properties of Different Types of Polyester Types 

AT THE SAME VISCOSITY

 

 

 

 

Properties

Unit

Ortho

Hybrid

Iso

Tensile Strength

Kgf/cm2

490

734

850

Tensile Modulus

Kgf/cm2

23450

25180

26000

Flexural Strength

Kgf/cm2

1090

1230

1300

Flexural Modulus

Kgf/cm2

25350

28273

29000

Elongation

%

2.1

5

2.13

Weight Average

Mw

7159

9500

10000

Number Average

Mn

3600

4000

4500

MW Distribution

Pd

1.96

2.38

1.5

Impact Test Oven

Rating

2

4

5

 

PHOTO EXHIBIT A

photoexibit

Trials and evaluations were done by both  Chemrez’  and customer’s R&D laboratories involving basic and applications testing .This finally resulted in the development of  Polycol  Aqua®  resins which were found to be both performance and cost competitive.

 

With the successful development of the Polycol Aqua ®  resins , Chemrez demonstrated its capability to  continually work with  customers to provide solutions to their concerns and needs. In this case, the expeditious development of  these environmentally  friendly products  enabled Chemrez’ demanding customer to effectively defend its market from aggressive low cost imports. The customer also indicated  that  timely delivery, consistent quality thus low reject rates and the resulting   better workmanship gave them additional  market advantages. The use of these products also eventually benefited the  workers who remain employed while handling much improved and ecologically  friendlier products.

 

The results were presented to Messrs. Mallory and  Canora of  PEBA who were happy to now have access to these timely and eco-friendly resins.  Commercial trials were run to check the resins’ performance and consistency. Having satisfied the demands of their customers, PEBA  then  approved  full eventual commercialization of the product.


Chemrez  has since demonstrated significant cost savings with the employment of these Polycol Aqua ®  resins.  In one application, for example, significant cost savings were achieved to the tune of   almost   P5-10 million for a 400 MT production.

 

 

PHOTO EXHIBIT B(Examples OfPolycol Aqua® Applications)
composite


By:

Mr. Ronnie Bonus, Marketing Manager ; Mr. Redentor Hipolito, R&D Manager and  Mr. Raul A.C. Obach, Consultant,
Chemrez Technologies, Inc.,

65 Calle Industria,   Bagumbayan, Quezon City, MM, Philippines 1110