NO. 6: Two exhibitors at K 2010 showed important advances in electrically conductive plastics.
The Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) at RWTH Aachen University showcased a single-step process to make electrically conductive sports glasses. The lenses are heated by a conductive track to prevent condensation.
A special machine for processing low-melting-point metal alloy was integrated into a K-Tec 200 S/2F injection molding machine from Ferromatik Milacron, Malterdingen, Germany. An injection unit
originally designed for plastics processing (Babyplast add-on injection unit, Christmann Kunststofftechnik GmbH, Kierspe, Germany) was optimized for processing the low-viscosity metal alloys.
IKV, working with Gebr. Krallmann, Hiddenhausen, and HASCO Hasenclever GmbH + Co KG, Lüdenscheid, both Germany, developed a three-station index plate mold. The glasses are produced with only one mold and one machine.
The resin used for the lens and frame is polyamide (two grades) from Evonik Industries, Essen, Germany. The inserted metal alloy has a melt point below 200 °C and is noted for its high electrical conductivity.
Also at the K, compounder A. Schulman based in Akron, Ohio showed a universal sign indicator component made with Schulatec TinCo plastic, which is described as 1,000 times more conductive than traditional competing materials. It is injection-molded to create a ready-to-install three-dimensional indicator lamp. The part is manufactured by Hella Lighting of Finland. Wiring for the lamp is embedded in the housing, which is 60% copper, 25% tin, and the remainder made up of polyamide 6 and additives. The copper is the conductor while the tin acts as solder connecting copper fibers. Details on the molding approach are located here. Other primary technology contributers were Siemens and IKV Aachen.