Plastics News - Show Daily - October 19, 2022 - 30

30 * Plastics News, October 19, 2022
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Engineering materials for sustainability
By Karen Laird
Sustainable Plastics
A fully integrated producer of
durable materials, Ascend Performance
Materials has been described
as operating in a sweet
spot created by applications expertise,
manufacturing know-how
and materiality expertise. Now, a
game-changer in the form of sustainability
has entered the scene.
Phil McDivitt, president and CEO
of Ascend, talked about how Ascend
is meeting this and other challenges
- and maintaining growth.
Q: The themes here at K are
digitalization, climate protection
and circular economy. How do
you, as a company, identify with
these topics?
McDivitt: The key themes of K
2022 certainly resonate with our
own efforts to create a more sustainable
future. We are making signifi -
cant investments to reduce the GHG
[greenhouse gas] impact of our
operations, having committed to
reduce our Scope 1 emissions by 80
percent by 2030. We expect to reach
this goal ahead of schedule and are
exploring further reductions.
Beyond Scope 1 emissions, as of
September 2022, the operations of
our compounding sites are carbon
neutral through the purchase of
renewable energy offsets.
Digitalization is essential to
supporting a truly sustainable
and circular economy. For us, that
means using technology to provide
higher-frequency, localized
reporting on key sustainability
metrics. We're also exploring the
ways that AI can benefi t our overall
sustainability efforts.
In terms of circularity, we have
launched ReDefyne, a full portfolio
of pre- and post- consumer
recycled materials
designed to provide
consistent quality and
performance across a
range of applications
from consumer goods
to automotive.
Q: In what ways is
Ascend contributing
to the transition to a more circular
economy for plastics?
McDivitt: Our theme for K 2022
is Advancing Together. It's a refl ection
of our commitment to help our
customers innovate and grow. We
have launched our new ReDefyne
pre- and post-consumer recycled
materials to help our customers
innovate with even lower environmental
impacts. Our ReDefyne
materials are made with at least
25 percent recycled polymer and
specifi cally formulated to provide
consistent, reliable performance.
Sourcing, reclaiming and recycling
high-performance materials into a
second high-performance application
has historically been challenging.
We've solved that challenge in
a meaningful, lower-impact way.
Q: Ascend is exhibiting at K 2022
under the theme " Advancing Together. "
What are you advancing?
McDivitt: In a general sense,
we're advancing with our customers.
If you look at the investments
we've made over the last three
years, you see that we've expanded
our footprint in strategic areas to
better serve our customers. We've
broadened our product portfolio,
and we've grown our technical support
resources in key end markets.
Specifi cally at K, we are showing
how these three things tie together
in meaningful ways for our customers.
We're highlighting several
ASCEND
PERFORMANCE
MATERIALS
Hall 6,
Booth A07
new engineered materials,
including our
new Starfl am X-Protect,
which was originally
developed in
our recently acquired
facility in France, put
in the hands of our automotive
and e-mobility
team in Detroit and
can be produced globally near our
customers' operations.
Starfl am X-Protect, a cross-linkable
fl ame-retardant [nylon], provides
critical safety performance
for EVs by protecting passengers
in the event of thermal runaway
in the battery pack. Withstanding
open fl ames with temperatures up
to 1,100°C for 15 minutes, Starfl am
X-Protect provides people critical
time to exit an electric vehicle after
a catastrophic battery failure.
Another way we are advancing
together is through sustainability.
As a fully integrated producer of
durable materials, our products
go into homes, vehicles, businesses,
textiles and thousands of other
applications. So, when we operate
more sustainably, those benefi ts
move throughout the chain to become
a more sustainable product.
Q: One of the topics you are focusing
on at K is e-mobility. Can
you talk about some of your new
developments in this area?
McDivitt: Ascend's e-range is
a combination of our company's
manufacturing capabilities, product
portfolio and application development
expertise. We have a dedicated
e-mobility team, founded in
2018, who have been providing the
e-mobility market with high-performance
solutions focused on safe
power infrastructure, a secure and
comfortable ride, and reliable thermal
management.
We have a portfolio of high-temperature,
hydrolysis-resistant and
fl ame-retardant materials,
and
we're working with leading manufacturers
on critical applications
to improve the performance and
safety of electric vehicles.
Our team of application development
engineers and polymer scientists
recently created a novel solution
to dampen noise, vibration
and harshness in electric vehicles.
Electric motors produce vibrations
at 10 times the frequency of internal
combustion engines, making
standard automotive under-thehood
dampening materials less effective.
Our solution, called Vydyne
AVS, effectively dampens high-frequency
vibrations at the source,
which translates into an 80 percent
reduction in cabin sound pressure.
We also have a long history of providing
the materials that make vehicles
safer. We're taking that further
with our Starfl am X-Protect and Starfl
am 525K with color-stable orange.
Q: What are the other highlights
here at K?
McDivitt:We continue to push the
performance of [nylon 6/6] to meet
our customers' growing needs. One
of the products we will be highlighting
at K is Vydyne ThermaPlus, a
new heat-stabilized [nylon 6/6] that
bridges the temperature performance
gap with [nylon 6/6].
In automotive under-the-hood
fasteners, our customers were
relying on [nylon 6/6]'s high temperature
resistance to hold a lines
and tubes in place. However, [nylon
6/6] fasteners are very stiff and
require a tool to install, causing
ergonomic and hand injuries. By
switching to Vydyne ThermaPlus,
the fasteners can now be installed
by hand without the need of a
tool, and they still withstand the
high temperatures found under
the hood.
Q: Two years ago, you started
developing a portfolio of specialty
[nylon 6/10] and [nylon 6/12]
grades - a major shift away from
just [nylon 6/6]. Are you still expanding
that portfolio?
McDivitt: Yes, we continue to
leverage Ascend's core competency
in [nylon] chemistry to expand the
portfolio, and we are gaining traction
in the market with our HiDura line of
long-chain [nylon] compounds and
resins. The grades are used applications
where durability and exposure
to chemicals are necessary including
monofi lament, outdoor cable ties,
battery seals, fuel line components
and automotive tubing.
Q: Ascend has grown strongly
over the past years, in part due
to a number of strategic acquisitions.
Will you continue to follow
an acquisition strategy in the
coming years?
McDivitt: Since 2019, we've
grown both our footprint and our
portfolio to serve our customers
globally. This year, we grew in Mexico
and India, added circular materials
to our portfolio and broke
ground on a global-scale HMD
plant in China. We will continue to
explore any and all investments -
whether they be new technologies,
facilities or acquisitions - that
bring us closer to our customers.
Q: Referring to Ascend's
merger and acquisition strategy,
one person described it as:
" We've gone from leveraging
scale to going local. " What has
this brought Ascend?
McDivitt: This model has enabled
us to bring service, innovation
and application development
expertise closer to our customers.
We want to be where our customers
are. Our footprint allows us
to offer them localized manufacturing,
material and application
expertise. This enables us to react
quicker to their needs and support
them more closely. Our goal is for
our customers to be able to access
the same Ascend solutions where
they operate globally.
http://www.kuhne-group.com http://www.polystarco.com

Plastics News - Show Daily - October 19, 2022

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