UL CHEMICALS exclusive


New program accelerates validation of high-temperature ratings for ingredient variations of plastic compounds

Long Term Thermal Aging (LTTA) covered under UL Safety Standard 746B was created to evaluate the heat resistance of plastics at elevated temperatures. Because this evaluation process can take months to determine a temperature rating, when manufacturers are selecting a plastic to build a product, they tend to choose materials which have already been tested for their particular type of application.

However, there are times when an existing formulation needs to be modified to meet changing product requirements and, as a consequence, a new LTTA test is called for to validate the already established rating. Such a retest translates to concerns that the product development milestones can be negatively affected and, in some instances, can result in the delay of a product launch. In today’s fast-pace marketplace, this could lead to substantial revenue loss.

One way by which UL can help accelerate the LTTA process is through a better understanding of the compound’s chemistry and its effect on heat resistance. UL can review short-term analytical test results, and conduct a validation of high temperature performance in a reduced timeframe. The analysis of the chemistry, the analytical data, and the high temperature property degradation can then be used to validate the statistical significance that ingredient modifications might have on a compound formulation with an already established high-temperature rating. In most cases a full-fledged LTTA test can thereby be avoided, saving time, money and the product development timeline.

Noé P. Navarro, Principal Engineer – Plastics, UL Chemicals

Learn more about UL services for plastics at www.ul.com/plastics

Contact Noé P. Navarro for further information on what UL is doing to validate high-temperature ratings of plastic compounds

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Recycled plastics materials can have the same level of acceptability as a virgin compound

Plastic is an integral part of everyday life. It is used in just about everything; from transportation to toys. Plastic is perhaps the only substance which has such a myriad of uses, as its internal structure and chemical bonding allow for a wide variety of applications. This is why, for the last forty years, there has been a huge demand to substitute other materials with plastics.

Due to environmental concerns, however, today’s consumers are driving change and seeking to replace plastics with products built of recycled materials. In this pursuit, many overlook an important point: plastics can be recycled. By using recycled plastics, we can significantly conserve both energy and raw materials. UL understands this and has introduced certification and validation programs to address this need.

The UL Recognition program for recycled plastics evaluates plastic compounds for post-consumer or post-industrial content in compliance with UL 746D (Standard for Safety For Polymeric Materials – Fabricated Parts). This rigorous testing program enables a resin to have the same level of acceptability as a virgin compound. In essence, it allows for a recycled plastic to be substituted for a virgin plastic in end-use applications, where compliance to UL 746C (Standard for Safety of Polymeric Materials – Use in Electrical Equipment Evaluations) is required.

One important benefit of getting a used plastic tested is that, once it is recognized as a recycled material, the information is available on the Plastic Recognition “Yellow Card”. Therefore, when a query for recycled material is made in either the UL iQ Plastics Database or the IDES Prospector database, the material is easily identified by manufacturers searching for recycled plastic materials.

Noé P. Navarro, Principal Engineer – Plastics, UL Chemicals

For further information on this program please visit www.ul.com/plastics or contact Noé P. Navarro

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ISO 12219 framework to ensure consistent measurement of emissions in a car’s interior

The issue of in-cabin emissions caused by VOC (volatile organic compounds) and SVOC (semi-volatile organic compounds) is not new. Decades ago, chemicals released from plastic materials were known to condense on a car’s windshield, causing fogging and decreased visibility. As automobile manufacturers worked towards minimizing the problem, they became more aware of the types and levels of chemicals emitted by interior materials. It was discovered that chemical emissions from plastics could also cause potentially toxic exposure to a vehicle’s occupants.

Many major manufacturers have meanwhile developed their own screening tests for identifying and quantifying VOC and SVOC emissions. The test methods typically use the same type of chemical analysis, but they may use a slightly different test apparatus or different temperatures. This patchwork of test methods causes confusion and leads to inefficient VOC/SVOC test programs for the automotive supply chain.

Recently, scientists from several auto manufacturers and qualified test laboratories have been developing a set of harmonized test methods to measure emissions from cabin materials and the levels of airborne VOC/SVOC in a car’s interior. These standards fall under the ISO 12219 designation and include ISO 12219-1 (whole car), ISO 12219-2 (bag method) and ISO 12219-3 (micro-chamber), all of which are finalized and now available. Many other standards are still under development, yet partially are already available.

By adopting the ISO 12219 framework in place of the OEM-specific requirements, manufacturers can help ensure consistent measurement techniques across the industry. This will also help to streamline the qualification process for third party test laboratories and support more efficient supply chain compliance.

David E Wuestmann, Business Development Manager Automotive, UL Chemicals

For more information about the ISO 12219 standards, or about cabin interior air quality measurements, please contact David Wuestmann

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UL provides in-house training at China’s leading compounder

Thanks to UL’s experience with polymer manufacturers at every step of the value chain, there is a significant potential for knowledge transfer with on-site training.

For instance, in 2013, a series of training sessions is being conducted by UL engineers in China, focused on the particularities of plastics intended for use in home appliances.

The training topics cover:

  1. General requirements for polymeric materials, including enclosure and electrical insulation materials used in appliances.
  2. Flammability requirements for appliance and end product flame tests, including electrical and mechanical properties, RTI, UV, water exposure and immersion requirements.
  3. Regrind and recycle material usage in appliances.
  4. Special requirements for detergent and immersion tests in dishwashers.

UL is providing this on-site training to Kingfa, a plastics compounder based in Guangzhou, China. Kingfa produces flame-retardant, reinforced, toughened and partially-recycled resins, polymeric alloys, and biodegradable plastics for industries ranging from appliances to telecommunications. Key to Kingfa’s success has been an ambitious dedication to quality and safety – evident in their long-standing collaboration with UL. Kingfa’s labs, for instance, have been qualified for UL’s rigorous Data Acceptance Program (DAP), the ISO/IEC 17025-based global standard used to assess the competency of laboratories to carry out their own tests/calibrations. Kingfa’s Long-Term Thermal-Aging (LTTA) lab has also received UL approval.Similar training programs are being planned in other fields such as automotive, energy and high tech.

Simon Jiang, Business Development Manager for China, UL Chemicals

If you are interested in in-house training in your country, please get in touch with your local UL contact person.

Contact Simon Jiang for further information on the Kingfa collaboration and training offers in China

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Durability of marking rub tests offered as part of Component Recognition Service

In an ongoing effort to support international safety standards, more and more products are being evaluated to harmonized IEC/UL Standards. These products range from household appliances and consumer electronics to medical equipment and measuring instruments. While UL 969 is the basic standard to evaluate the performance of labels, many IEC harmonized end-product standards may require compliance with a test not covered by UL 969: the durability of marking rub test.

Consequently, label printers and printing material suppliers may choose to have their products tested by UL in advance as a part of UL’s Component Recognition Service. There are many advantages to this approach. For one, the Recognition program provides label and printing material suppliers with an independent and objective means to demonstrate to end-product manufacturers that their labels or materials comply with the applicable requirements, such as the rub test. It also adds confidence to supply chain integrity by performing the testing and surveillance where the labels and materials are produced, rather than when they are already part of an end-product.

The rub test involves visual examination for legibility and adhesion after the labels have been rubbed with a cloth soaked with one or more liquids. Depending on the standard, these liquids may be water, petroleum spirit (hexane), methylated spirit (ethyl alcohol denatured with methanol), isopropyl alcohol solution or others. The choice and sequence of the liquids and the duration of rubbing will also vary depending on the end-product standard.

Richard C Winton, Principal Engineer, UL Chemicals

Learn more about UL’s Component Recognition Service 

For more information on the products and standards that require durability of marking rub tests and the details of the tests, contact Richard C Winton

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Visit UL at the following events

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UL Thermoplastics Testing Center

The UL Thermoplastics Testing Center (UL TTC) in Krefeld, Germany, is a leading international supplier for compounding, test specimen production and testing and certification of innovative plastics – from polyolefins to high-performance thermoplastics. As an accredited ISO 17025 testing laboratory, UL TTC has been defining and redefining state-of-the-art in plastics testing for over 65 years. Discover our unsurpassed capabilities in plastics technology, capacity, quality and expertise.

The UL TTC website provides a comprehensive overview of our services and includes a practical download area with numerous PDF documents.

Visit us at: www.ulttc.com

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Plastics database, data sheet services and advertising

UL IDES is the world’s leading plastics information management solution, providing a searchable database of plastics – known as “Prospector” – as well as data sheet services for OEMs and resin suppliers. As the industry-standard for plastic material selection, Prospector is relied on by over 380,000 plastics professionals. Using Prospector they save time finding the right plastic, which is critical to the success of their products and their businesses. Whether you're searching for plastics materials, needing to build a data sheet search for your company's website or reaching out to qualified plastics professionals, we can help.

Learn more at: www.ides.com

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Enhance your competitive advantage with technical training from UL Knowledge Services

What do you need to know to stay on top in the global chemicals business? UL Knowledge Services, with its worldwide presence and flexible content delivery, offers safety standards training solutions across all chemicals sectors, including plastics, insulation systems, labels, flammable and combustible fluids.

Scheduled public workshops form the backbone of UL’s comprehensive curriculum. Learn from the experts by attending a workshop on evaluating plastics for use in PV module applications (UL 746C and SU 5703) or for use in electrical, electronic and mechanical applications (UL 94, UL 746 A-D). UL Knowledge Services also offers workshops dedicated to Long Term Thermal Aging (UL 746B), Electrical Insulation Systems (UL 1446), Evaluation of Flammability and Short- and Long-Term Properties (UL 94, 746A, and 746B), as well as on REACH Essentials – providing an overview of the new EU chemicals policy.

UL Knowledge Services can also tailor all training offerings to your individual business needs. Private seminars, custom workshops or round-table discussions can be organized to address unique training requirements, even at short notice, e.g. when time is critical and you need immediate assistance with regulatory Standards. We also offer a variety of advisory services designed to provide strategic structures for accelerating product development, streamlining testing and reducing time to market.

Visit www.ulknowledgeservices.com  for workshop dates and locations and to learn more about the many ways UL Knowledge Services can help you produce safe products, increase efficiency and remain on the cutting edge of emerging technologies.

Karen Dubiel, Lead Engineering Instructor for Chemicals and Environment, UL Knowledge Services

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