MOSCOW (MRC) - Leading ABS producer ELIX Polymers is collaborating with a large group of companies within ClusterMAV, the Advanced Materials Cluster of Catalonia, Spain, in the fight against COVID-19, said the company.
The partners are working in collaboration with the National Federation of Innovative Business Groups and Clusters (FENAEIC), which focuses on promoting collaboration between federations, clusters and their partners, within the European Cluster collaboration platform.
ELIX Polymers is donating a medical-grade material, ELIX ABS 3D-FC, in response to high demand from hospitals for medical masks, valves for ventilators and other medical devices. This product, developed for transformation into filaments for FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) 3D printing, is now being used by Ford Motor Company (which has switched some of its production in automobiles to medical equipment), research organization AIMPLAS, and two Spanish plastics processors, PESL and SIIM.
Materials developed by ELIX Polymers for the healthcare sector are compliant with the ISO 10993 and USP class VI biocompatibility standards. They have been included in Drug Master Files (DMF) for use in medical and food contact applications in both Europe and the USA.
Ford is using 15 3D printers at its facility in Valencia to produce protective face shields at a rate of 300 units a day. Filaments, produced on extruders operated by volunteer employees, are used to print head supports for protective face shields. Assembled shields are shipped to an ozone disinfection centre coordinated by the Ministry of Health in Valencia and then distributed to hospitals and care homes.
Logistic support of the 3Dcovid19.tech initiative, in coordination with leading plastics distributor Nexeo Plastics in Barcelona, is enabling distribution of ELIX ABS 3D-FC filaments to several 3D printing companies in the network. They are producing various parts that are in high demand, including ventilator adaptors and manifolds. One such company is Noumena, a tech company that specialises in the manufacture of additives and uses ELIX ABS 3D-FC in its WASP 3D printing machines to produce different types of protective masks with interchangeable filters for the subsequent supply thereof to hospitals. In some cases, injection moulding is also being used; for this, ELIX Polymers is providing another medical grade, ELIX ABS M203-FC.
ELIX ABS 3D-FC is being processed on several brands of 3D printers, including open-chamber types like Prusa and Ultimaker, and closed-chamber printers like WASP. Temperature fluctuation is reduced in a closed chamber, but open-chamber 3D printers have also given excellent results.
The downloadable printing profile for ELIX ABS 3D-FC, which is compatible with Cura software widely used in FFF 3D printing, has helped in identifying the most suitable settings for the material; standard Prusa settings for ABS have also been useful.
The performance characteristics of ABS, together with the fact that it can be adapted and customised to meet each
specific need in its final use, as well as the safety and reliability of the different types of ABS manufactured by ELIX, have made it an essential material for many medical equipment manufacturers.
As MRC reported before, in June 2018, ELIX Polymers, a thermoplastics manufacturer located in Tarragona's Poligono Sur industrial complex, announced a new investment amounting to EUR4 million, whose objective is to optimize its ABS powder production facilities. The company began executing this new project in 2018, which it will continue to develop and consolidate throughout the year of 2019.
As oer MRC's ScanPlast, overall imports of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) to the Russian market increased in the first four months of 2020 by 5% year on year to 10,900 tonnes. This figure was at 10,400 tonnes in January-April 2019. Last month"s imports of material to the Russian Federation rose by 5% to 3,300 tonnes from 3,100 tonnes a year earlier. March ABS imports into the country were 2,800 tonnes.
ELIX Polymers is one of the most important manufacturers of ABS resins and derivatives in Europe, with 40 years of experience in engineering plastics and an installed capacity of 180,000/year from their plant in Tarragona (Spain) to the world. The operation starts in 1975, when the Tarragona ABS and SAN production plant was inaugurated.