DSM launches range of styrene-free resins

DSM says it is the first global producer to offer a range of styrene-free resins. The new styrene-free products are commercially available now and can cover around 50% of resin applications. Products to cover the further 50% of applications will be available soon.

The Atlac® Premium styrene-free range currently consists of 6 products for anti-corrosion and industrial products. These are designed for various composites manufacturing processes including hand lay-up, spray up, filament winding, continuous winding, and liner impregnation. (See the box below for further details of the styrene-free resins.)

This product launch follows the recent listing of styrene by the US Department of Health's National Toxicology Programme as a "reasonably anticipated" carcinogen. Given this development, and in with its strategy to create products and services that create more value with less environmental impact, DSM Composite Resins wants to explore alternative technologies to styrene.

The company confirms that this is a long term strategy and it will continue to use styrene in its portfolio for the present.

DSM says it is also willing to license its styrene-free technology to other resin manufacturers in an effort to move the industry in this direction.

CEFIC resignation

DSM Composite Resins also announced its resignation from the Cefic (European Chemical Industry Council) resin group, which includes competitors Ashland, Reichhold, Cray Valley and Scott Bader.

DSM says that while Cefic's response to the styrene issue has been to produce Safe Handling Guides, and that while it also believes styrene is safe to use at accepted worker exposure levels, it wants to go further than this and take the lead in developing styrene-free resins.

Sustainable innovation

These styrene-free resins are the latest development in DSM Composite Resins' 'sustainable innovation strategy.' They follow on from the launch of Palapreg® ECO P55-01, a resin with 55% renewable materials content resin for the automotive industry, in 2010, and the introduction earlier of Atlac 5200FC, a vinyl ester resin designed for food and drinking water contact applications manufactured in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).

Wilfride Gambade, Business Unit Director, DSM Composite Resins, reports that the Palapreg ECO resin will be used in a new car being launched by a European OEM towards the end of 2011. Meanwhile, 9 different GMP resins are now available from three European facilities and another 10 will follow.

Next year DSM plans to launch cobalt-free technologies for curing unsaturated polyester resins. This are designed to replace the cobalt based products currently used for curing polyester resins which are targeted for discontinuation by the ECHA (European Chemical Agency), or are under review.

DSM says it is working with a key partner on these cobalt-free technologies and the new products are scheduled for launch in March 2012.

DSM Composite Resins' Altac Premium styrene-free resins
Product Process Applications
100 Series Hand lay-up, spray up Ship lamination, industrial construction, tank lining
200 Series Filament winding, continuous winding Protective lining, GRP pipes, storage tanks
300 Series Liner impregnation, on spot impregnation Small diameter relining, lateral & vertical relining
400 Series Liner impregnation, on spot impregnation Liner impregnation, on spot impregnation
600 Series Liner impregnation, hand lamination Main sewer relining, large diameter relining, manhole repair, partliners

700 Series (GMP)

Liner impregnation, GMP production Drinkwater relining, food contact application

Also see European UP Resin Sector Group issues statement on styrene-free technologies.