Earlier this year DSM unveiled its latest development – a styrene-free, cobalt-free resin with 40% bio-content.
The creation of styrene-free and cobalt-free products is driven by the threat of legislation restricting the use of these chemicals, but Robert Puyenbroek admits it is difficult to predict the outcome of the discussions currently taking place. (See: "No credible evidence" that styrene exposure increases human cancer risk – US study.)
|... there is no issue in using styrene, and there is no issue with cobalt, if you use it in the right way. But I think in a few more years you’ll see more and more pressure on these materials ...|
|Robert Puyenbroek, Global R&D Director, DSM Composite Resins|
"I think it’s very important to mention that styrene is still safe to use," he says in the interview with Reinforced Plastics.
"If you use the right protection, there is no issue in using styrene, and there is no issue with cobalt, if you use it in the right way. But I think in a few more years you’ll see more and more pressure on these materials, and you’ll see more and more pressure on being sustainable, so I think it’s a matter of time. Our customers (including OEMs and end-customers) are clearly asking for materials that are more sustainable than the current solutions."
Composite Resins will also continue to serve its core business of styrene-containing resins, Puyenbroek emphasises.
"We’re focused on styrene-free, but of course we still develop our core business. It’s still very important to help our current market and current customers. So it’s a two-way approach: on one side, we make sure we have solutions for the future, that for us is very important; but in the short and medium term, we take care of our customers’ needs and continue to develop and grow our portfolio of styrene-containing resins."
New styrene-free products
Puyenbroek notes that there are new products in the pipeline for launch in 2013.
"We have a whole portfolio of styrene-free products for relining, and you can also expect a new styrene-free grade for relining for drinking water applications, which will be commercialised in the next couple of months."