Woodyplast natural fiber compound material

Natural fiber compound gains added strength from Vistamaxx™ performance polymers

Vistamaxx™ performance polymers have helped Klaus Kunststofftechnik GmbH of Germany to boost the impact resistance and breaking elongation of its woodyplast natural fiber compound (NFC) material.

woodyplast is used for the design of the “Luis light” pallet collar frame, an iF (International Forum) award-winning product from Klaus Kunststofftechnik GmBH of Germany.

Key advantages

Adding Vistamaxx polymers to NFC material provides the following benefits:

  • better impact resistance
  • higher breaking elongation
  • resistance to oil, fat, water and heat
  • 100 percent recyclable

Getting tough
Pallets are still a commonly used method of transporting all types of goods. Pallet collar frames help to keep loads secure. A new frame design combines the benefits of wood and plastic to maximize firmness and efficiency.

“Luis light” pallet collar frames, from Klaus Kunststofftechnik of Germany, are made from the company’s award-winning woodyplast NFC material.

The standard NFC material is comprised of 70 percent wood from European spruce trees with about 30 percent polypropylene (PP) and some additives such as compatibilizers. The company discovered that by adding ExxonMobil Chemical's Vistamaxx polymers it could improve the material’s mechanical strength significantly.

The improvements, compared to an NFC in which Vistamaxx performance polymers are not used, are impressive. Impact resistance is improved five-fold, from 4.9kJ/m² to 26kJ/m², while breaking elongation is increased from 2.6 percent to 9.1 percent.

Mechanical values changes  

ValueWithout Vistamaxx With Vistamaxx
E-Modulus EN 1786800 N/mm²1650 N/mm²
Impact resistance ISO 179/1eU4.9 kJ/m²26 kJ/m²
Elongation at O’M ISO 5272.6%9.1%

 Source: Klaus Kunststofftechnik GmbH

“The impact resistance and breaking elongation of natural fiber-reinforced materials are lower in comparison to plastic compounds,” says Walter Klaus, managing director of Klaus Kunststofftechnik GmbH. “By adding Vistamaxx, we improved these properties significantly. Also, Vistamaxx is compatible with all polyolefins, making it easy to implement.”

Compounded and molded
Vistamaxx polymers are incorporated into woodyplast at the compounding stage. It can replace materials like TPE, EVA and PVC. The pallet collar frames are injection molded on a 1700t machine.

Three “Luis light” models are available:

  • the “Standard” version is designed for transporting food and pharmaceuticals, and can be autoclaved
  • the “Entry” version is for the transportation of industrial products, including extremely heavy parts
  • the “ESD version” is for transporting electrical devices and is made from a special grade of NFC containing 60 percent wood and 40 percent PP with carbon fiber. Its surface resistivity of 105 to 108  Ohms, according to IEC 61340-5.1, helps to protect sensitive electronic items in transit.

The material is also well suited for garden furniture, sandboxes and paddling pool surrounds because it offers water resistance to prevent rotting, splitting and breakage, high mechanical load capacity and stability.

Sustainability benefits
In addition to being recyclable, woodyplast offers other sustainability benefits.

“It’s not only the material, but also its processing that provides these benefits,” says Klaus. “The processing temperature and cycle times are significantly lower than those of standard polymers, which can reduce energy use.”

But the most important factor may be its longevity. It has a high mechanical load capacity, high temperature resistance to 140 °C (284 °F), and exhibits excellent resistance to oil, fat and moisture.

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