Against the use of metallic materials, such as stainless steel or aluminium, high performance plastics in the HVAC industry are becoming increasingly popular. Polymers help reduce costs, add value to the production process and final product itself.
What are high performance plastics?
High performance plastics are plastics that meet higher requirements than standard or engineering plastics. Their use is generally reserved for critical applications such as aerospace, medical, defense or industrial applications and always in small amounts. In fact, nowadays they only represent about 1% of the plastics manufactured worldwide.
Characteristics of high performance plastics
Due to their properties, high performance plastics are used in a wide range of multi-use and durable applications and are usually used to replace other materials such as metal, wood, and glass. Expanded Polypropylene and Expanded Polystyrene are some examples of high performance plastics.
Let’s take a quick look over the most highlighted characteristics of the high performance plastics:
- Thermal stability: high performance plastics generally have an operating temperature over 150ºC being able some types to hold a continuous operating temperature of 250ºc or even 400ºc, depending on the operating conditions. This means they won’t deform or degrade in high temperature applications and maintain at the same time their superior mechanical properties.
- Outstanding chemical resistance: these types of plastics are resistant to a broad range of chemicals, meaning that they are inert and highly insoluble in most solvents or chemicals. Furthermore, by using special reinforcing materials such as glass fiber, glass beads or carbon fiber, heat distortion resistance and rigidity can be increased even further.
- Machinability: they are easy to machine and thermoform, leading to optimal surface finishes.
- Durability: for all of the above, it is no wonder that high performance plastics have a much longer useful life than traditional plastics.
- Reusability and recyclability: nearly all high performance plastics are recyclable, contributing to a circular economy and the reduction of the industrial plastic carbon footprint.
The future of high performance plastics
High performance plastics are growing at a faster rate than the plastics market as a whole. So much so that it is expected that the global high-performance plastics market will reach $245.41 billion in 2024.
Trends in industrial environments
What does the future hold for high performance plastics?
- High performance plastics demand is sensitive to the economic cycle. As demand for plastics fell more than proportionately to GDP during the global recession of 2008, forecasts seem to point that their future demand will grow much faster than GDP.
- Consumption is expected to shift to the Asia Pacific region, as the demand for important durable consumer goods like automobiles shifts there too.
- The adoption of high performance plastics in the automotive, aerospace and HVAC industries will accelerate.
- Prices are expected to be stable due to the general non-competitivity of the markets in existing applications.
- Applications for high performance plastics are approaching market saturation. In practice, this means that the competition from lower-cost, commodity resins could eventually have a negative effect on demand.
- New application development is becoming the key market driver for high performance plastics, at the expense of just substituting other traditional materials as it was in the latter years. This opens new opportunities and has a positive effect on demand.
- Sustainability will become more critical and managing the entire life cycle of high-performance plastics and the applications they fulfill will be a must.
Knauf Appliances: Search of high performance and innovation
At Knauf Industries innovation is our strategic motivation and drives everything we do, as we are convinced that it is key to bring added value to our customers.
To achieve this goal, we created ID Lab, our Innovation and Development Lab, which works especially in 5 main research areas: innovative materials, time to market, added value, efficiency improvement and circular economy.
An expanded foam lab is based in Ungersheim and is devoted to provide essential functions such as design, prototyping and testing. We deploy our skills and equipment to generate value-added solutions and identify new growth segments, business models and technologies.
In addition to them, we develop connected Labs internationally with the aim to combine the agility of a local structure with the strength of an international group and our experts and engineers close to our customers are specialized in markets, materials or technologies.
Knauf Appliances: Plastic Solutions
Knauf Industries is an international expert in the design and manufacture of protective packaging. Our packaging solutions are intended for many business sectors, as they are ideal for maintaining the integrity of products throughout its logistic cycle.
The combination of materials, colors and shapes allows our clients to adapt your packaging to current marketing trends, while enabling easy use and implementation.
Appliances and technical parts
Solutions for domestic appliances and technical components for the HVACR market are also core at Knauf Industries. We work with Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) in this matter.
Our development department and sales team specialized in the development of technical parts and protection systems work closely with our customers in the eco-design of their new range of brown and white goods.
Getting a nice finish around hydraulic connections is not an easy road, as the foaming pressure can easily outstrip junctures. However, we have a variety of solutions which enable moulding all the shapes to ensure perfect subjection avoiding leaks.
Our range of technical solutions in expanded foams (EPP and EPS) will also help you optimize your acoustic properties and reduce your handling costs during the assembly process while keeping the aesthetics.
At Knauf Industries we are worldwide recognised for developing customized, turnkey projects for our clients, from the initial design to the serial production in one of our plants. In this regard, we have several models of cooperation to match your needs: full-scope cooperation, tooling and production and only production.
Therefore, if you are looking for a reliable experienced partner who is able to support you through the process of customizing technical parts while focusing on plastic performance and promoting sustainable development, Knauf Appliances is your ally.