High-Flow Injection Moldable PET
PET is a top choice for many applications because of a powerful combination of good mechanical properties, low cost and low environmental impact. Lifecycle analysis (LCA) shows that PET containers are often the wisest choice. PET would be even more widely used if it were possible to injection mold it more easily. For decades companies have tried and failed to create an injection moldable PET by overcoming the poor flow and long injection times that have made molding of PET commercially unviable. While thick molded parts like the bottle preform shown here have been made for decades, the market requires much higher flow and faster molding to expand the applicability of molded PET items.
All prior attempts by leading companies had failed year after year and decade after decade. Different flow aids had of course been tried but issues such as migration and problems with printability arose. Other additives were found to detract from the mechanical strength and recyclability of the PET. So Phantom was approached and asked to create a revolutionary new strategy for injection moldable PET.
In just a few weeks, a completely new approach was conceptualized and testing began immediately. Initial results from compounding and molding trials quickly proved that we could dramatically improve the flow of PET without any sacrifice in mechanical properties, safety or recyclability.
Further work followed whereby the material was scaled-up, protected with patents and sampled to customers for full-scale production trials. The test partners were stunned that the age-old problem had finally been solved, so that they could replace other plastics with PET molded parts offering better mechanicals, better haptics and a benign environmental footprint.
The first version of the breakthrough injection moldable PET was an opaque product (WO2019190572A1). Subsequently, some customers asked if we could produce a transparent version, so we went back to the drawing board and designed a new product for them, tested it, scaled it up and received very positive feedback (WO2021113061A1).
PET has better mechanical properties than PBT but at a lower price point and with a more benign environmental profile making it the ideal choice for many applications. Due to the extremely high flow of the new material, it is suitable even for thin-walled parts in multi-cavity molds. It can even be used in molds designed to be used with PS, PP and other plastics. The high flow and rapid solidification of the new grades means fast cycle times for high productivity and good economics.
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