Menzolit Ltd. (Southampton, U.K.) a supplier of sheet and bulk molding compounds (SMCs and BMCs) and Bac2 Ltd. (Romsey, U.K.) have concluded a 15-month development partnership. The result, announced March 4, 2013, is a new phenolic SMC, called Menzolit PSMC 2410 Grade, designed for superior low-smoke and fire performance trhough the use of Bac2’s latent acid catalyst, CSR.
To avoid hardening of the material until the appropriate point in the manufacturing process, phenolic SMC usually requires expensive refrigeration for both storage and transportation. Menzolit’s new material reportedly eliminates the problem, allowing room-temperature storage and transportation. Accordign to Menzolit, it makes phenolic SMC as easy to store, handle and process as polyester SMC, reducing manufacturing costs and complexity without compromising the material’s performance.
Menzolit maintains that there is growing demand for fire-rated phenolic SMC as health and safety regulatory requirements become more stringent throughout the world. For many applications, materials now need to pass tests for ignitability, surface spread of flame, emissivity of smoke and corrosive gases, and toxicity.
Menzolit’s new SMC, which also is formulated for high chemical resistance, is said to be suitable for production of moldings for these applications, including those where the final products are used in the railway industry and onboard ships, or anywhere else that the build-up of toxic gases during a fire may occur in confined spaces.
Mike Stannard, Bac2’s CEO, comments, “Working closely with Menzolit on this project confirms that using CSR catalysts delivers lower costs and more consistent quality in compression moulding processes. It stabilizes compounds for storage and improves their processing characteristics."
Menzolit’s managing director Joan Montobbio adds, “With very demanding legislative requirements to limit the damaging affects of fire, particularly in enclosed environments, it is timely to be able to offer a new SMC that makes it easier and more competitive to produce flame-rated moldings where the very highest performance standards are required. It is rare for the addition of a catalyst to have so dramatic an impact on an SMC but Bac2’s innovation has given Menzolit a strong competitive advantage with the new material. They partnered with us to refine and optimise their catalyst for our products, and the result is now delivering tangible productivity benefits to our customers.”
Bac2 has developed a family of CSR catalysts that extend the storage life of prepolymeric mixes used in SMC and BMC processes from minutes or hours to more than three months. Bac2 supplies CSR catalysts to companies that manufacture laminated products, abrasives and composite molded parts. The company’s customers are in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. CSR catalysts have won two major industry accolades in recent months: the "Materials Award" at the Composites UK Innovation Awards 2012, and the category of the same name at the JEC Europe 2013 Innovation Awards.