The Big 5

Bio-based polyamides for insulating profiles ... environment friendly.

Bio-based polyamides for insulating profiles ... environment friendly.

Greener options

November 2011

TECHNOFORM Bautec, a leader in insulation for aluminium windows, doors and facades, will be showcasing its new environment-friendly bio-based polyamides for thermal-break aluminium profiles at The Big 5 show in Dubai.

The product, which has already been tested and prototyped, was unveiled at the Made expo, Italy’s leading architecture and building trade exhibition, which was held in Milano last month (October 5 to 8). It will also be showcased at the Batimat, a premier building exhibition which will open in Paris, France, this month (November 7 to 12), before it makes its Gulf debut at The Big 5 in Dubai (November 21 to 24). The company has also submitted it for the Gaia awards.
Technoform has been working on bio-based polyamides in line with the increasing importance given globally to the sustainable use of resources and environment-friendly products.

“The use of renewable raw materials can significantly improve the carbon footprint of products,” says a spokesman for Technoform. “This can have a positive impact on environmental product declarations (EPD) and building certificates like Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Breeam (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) or DGNB (the German Sustainable Building Council).

The group of biopolymers includes bio-based polymers made of renewable raw material and bio-degradable polymers, which degrade in water or other chemicals and are used in applications such as for packaging. Bio-based polyamides, made from the fruits of the castor oil plant, are suitable for use in insulating profiles.

There are three bio-based polyamides that are used for insulating profiles, due to their good mechanical properties and their high temperature resistance: PA10.10 (100 per cent bio-based), PA6.10 (62 per cent bio-based) and PA4.10 (70 per cent bio-based). In detailed research, Technoform Bautec has successfully tested the processability of these different types of material.

“The mechanical properties fulfil the specifications of the Technoform material data sheet for standard material, which exceeds European norms. The characteristic values and shear strength of the assembly (tested using a standard geometry) reach the same values as ones made with standard materials. On the basis of these findings, we are now planning to launch a joint project for interested customers to explore the quality of these materials in their special systems,” says the spokesman.

As commercial production of bio-based material has just started, production capacity of this material is still low. Of the bio-based polyamides types, PA6.10 is the raw material with the best availability and is the one offered by different suppliers. There are currently a limited number of suppliers offering PA10.10 and PA4.10, according to the spokesman.
Turning to the raw material, the spokesman says the fact that castor oil plant grows in very dry areas is a distinct advantage as its cultivation does not put pressure on naturally-irrigated potential arable land, which is in high demand for the cultivation of food, animal feed and industrial material.

Technoform also addresses issues regarding recycling of profiles.

Additionally, a byproduct of the cultivation of these plants for bio-plastics is often high-value protein-rich animal feed.
As an environment-conscious company, Technoform Bautec also addresses other environmental concerns that might arise from bio-based polyamides such as recycling of profiles.

“The recycling of aluminium windows is becoming a predominant topic of window associations worldwide. Technoform Bautec is a member of the German initiative A/U/F (Aluminium und Umwelt im Fenster- und Fassadenbau – Aluminum and environment in window and cladding construction), which focuses on returning construction elements into the supply chain to produce new building components after renovation, dismantling or demolition of buildings. Currently, there is no supply chain mechanism for returning insulating strips, and Technoform Bautec is closely investigating the use of these materials in collaboration with this initiative,” says the spokesman.

He continues: “Technoform Bautec is concerned about the environment and our German subsidiary is already certified according to ISO 14001 for environmental management standards. We always aim to find the best balance between environmental aspects and product requirements. For this reason, re-use of our own material in-house is a tried and tested practice, with almost 100 per cent of our production waste re-used as internal re-ground material or re-granulated and applied in our production.”

He says the company use in-house recycled material up to a level of 15 per cent in its extrusion process, while conforming to its product specifications. Larger percentages are not always advisable as the mechanical properties and processability of recycled material diminish with every application, preparation and re-use, he adds.

Technoform Bautec also offers customers the option to return profiles that not required – provided they were supplied by the firm – for re-use in the extrusion process, and are in appropriate condition.

The company is a member of the Germany-based Technoform Group, which also consists of Technoform Glass Insulation, Technoform Kunststoffprofile and Technoform Extrusion Tooling.

Founded in 1969 as a family concern, the group today has a global presence with more than 35 factories and sales offices, and is a market leader in the field of plastics extrusion. For the last 15 years, the Technoform Group has witnessed a year-on-year growth of more than 15 per cent per year.

Technoform Bautec is represented in the region by Technoform Middle East, which also represents Technoform Glass Insulation.

Technoform Middle East can be visited at Zabeel Hall, Stand P114 at The Big 5 show.

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