One sign of the significant and growing success of Japanese Nano Molding Technology is that SABIC has developed a new PBT-type polyester compound that specifically targets its applications, particularly in the mobile phone area.
The company’s LNP compounding unit in Exton, Pennsylvania, has developed Thermotuf WF008N glass filled PBT compounds that are said to have high bonding strength between metal and plastics for NMT. The compound is also said to have good colorability, a drawback of polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) compounds often considered for NMT applications.
In NMT, which is sometimes more clearly described as metal and resin integration technology, engineering plastics are injected into nanometer-sized scratches in metals such as aluminum. The process combines properties of plastics and metal in a part that cuts weight dramatically compared to casting.
It was invented in 2002 by Masanori Naritomi, president of Japanese processor Taisei Plas, who often works with other molders as licensees. Samsung has widely adopted NMT for mobile phones, displays, home appliances and ground vehicle products. The process is often mated with Japanese electric machines made by Toshiba or Sumitomo.
According to a paper submitted to the Annual Technical Conference (Antec) of the Society of Plastics Engineers by eight SABIC researchers, reinforced resins are used in the NMT process to compensate for the different coefficients of linear expansion between metal and plastic.
In a Japanese patent application published in April, Taisei Plas discloses an effort to extend its NMT process to titanium alloys.