Heilbronn, Germany-based L. Brüggemann GmbH & Co. KG and Fraunhofer LBF, Darmstadt, Germany, have joined forces to improve the recyclability of plastics by introducing new stabilizer systems for recycled polyolefins.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability have developed the new stabilizer systems for polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE). These stabilizers can reduce the effects of previous damage to such an extent that recycled materials become suitable for processing into sophisticated molded products, according to a news release issued by Brüggemann. The manufacturer of tailor-made high-performance additives for engineering plastics is collaborating with Fraunhofer LBF on the stabilizers and will be responsible for their production and worldwide distribution.
Fraunhofer LBF has used its know-how on the effects of polymer additives such as antioxidants, light stabilizers, flame retardants and nucleating agents to address the special challenges posed by recycled materials. Because of their “special reactivity,” Brüggemann says “the new stabilizer systems have the potential to neutralize the effects of previous damage, paving the way for the production of recyclate with processing properties and long-term heat stability that are similar to those of virgin material.”
The new systems are based partially on renewable raw materials, and their development was accelerated with the support of the Circular Plastics Economy research cluster, i.e. five institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft working with their stakeholders to develop system services for a functioning circular plastics industry, ranging from prototypes and recycling to acceptance processes and business models.
"With its many years of comprehensive experience in the field of polymer additives and its worldwide market penetration, Brüggemann is the right partner to bring our ideas for the upcycling of plastics to market quickly," says Rudolf Pfaendner, head of the plastics division at Fraunhofer LBF. Building on the work of Fraunhofer LBF, Brüggemann says it will use its know-how and technical potential to optimize formulations. The company will adapt the stabilizers to the requirements of customers and markets, provide technical application advice and take over large-scale production, quality assurance and worldwide marketing.
Brüggemann traditionally focuses on producing high-performance additives for polyamides, including heat, processing and light stabilizers, process auxiliaries and modifiers, marketed under the Bruggolen brand. The company is currently expanding and its new, automated facility also will produce the new additives for polyolefin recycling.
Klaus Bergmann, head of polymer additives at Brüggemann, says, "Continuous development is an essential basis for our company's success. We are very pleased to have entered into a cooperation agreement with the Fraunhofer LBF to expand our portfolio of recycling additives to polyolefins. Ultimately, our goal is to significantly improve the quality of recyclates with the help of innovative additives, thereby making an important contribution to the upcycling of plastic waste.”