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Sustainable Innovation

HARBEC has a longstanding history in being an innovative partner. Today we are exploring innovative technologies and materials:

  • In 2014 HARBEC was awarded a $1 million project by NYSERDA to “Demonstrate the Transformative Potential of Energy-Efficient 3D Printing.” The project will allow HARBEC to further reduce energy in its manufacturing facility while providing a new technological capability that can be transferred to other businesses in their own pursuit of Carbon Neutrality. In the project, HARBEC will explore and incorporate principles of “biomimicry” into mold-making which are projected to yield faster cycle-times due to better thermal transfer of energy within the mold, and thereby reducing the energy (and potentially water) requirements for plastics injection molding. This unique project is being conducted so that the technology can be transferred to other mold-making and injection molding companies throughout New York State, and so that any energy, environmental, and sustainability impacts that derive from the project are transferred to other businesses for adoption.
  • HARBEC has partnered and supported other American companies which have developed higher efficiency energy products. HARBEC has, for example, tested and validated LED lighting technologies developed by Lumentek Global, a Rochester-based LED solutions company and a Rankine Cycle system developed by Schenectady-based Ener-G-Rotors, Inc. which ran for more than 500 hours and produced more than 19 kW of power by leveraging excess thermal potential at HARBEC’s facility. Additionally, HARBEC has lent one of its microturbine generators to LPP Combustion (an advanced engineering company located in Maryland) to aid in their development of alternative fuel conditioning equipment that could someday provide a much-desired biofuel solution for the combined heat and power plant. These three examples have advanced HARBEC’s energy efficiency goals and energy and cost reductions even further.
  • Through the Biopolymer Partners Program HARBEC is working to connect the dots between sustainable design and manufacturing and materials development and management. HARBEC is working with customers who are looking for unique bio-based polymer solutions which can enable their products to reduce or eliminate petroleum-and-carbon based feedstocks within their product portfolio. HARBEC is also working with a diversity of biopolymer and bio-origin polymer companies to sample, validate, and assess the vitality of their material within the production parameters and tolerances demanded by customers.
  • Selective Laser Sintering including our next generation 3D Systems capabilities allows us to “grow” functional plastic and metal parts in one day.
  • Mastery of engineered resins that allow us to mold even the most difficult of materials.

Biopolymer Information Center

Plastic, by its very nature, is recyclable. We regrind and reuse or resell our waste plastic so it doesn’t ever see a landfill. There are new technologies that make plastic even more environmentally friendly called biopolymers or bio-origin plastics. HARBEC is very interested in utilizing bioplastics for your next injection molding project. We are currently exploring various samples to understand the functionality and best applications for our customers’ needs. We are always looking for new biomaterials to try, so if you have a material you would like to see injection molded, or if you are a manufacturer or supplier interested in how your material performs, please feel free to contact us.  We would love to work with you!

  • What is Bioplastic? Terms and Definitions.

    Bioplastic is a term used to describe a wide array of materials and is often confusing or misleading. Within the scope of bioplastics are a variety of very different materials, which are derived from a plethora of sources and accordingly have varied properties. It is worth defining several terms often associated with bioplastics. Some helpful definitions in understanding these distinctions are as follows:

    • Degradable Plastic: One which is designed so that it will undergo a significant change in its chemical structure under specific environmental conditions, the result of which being a loss in physical properties.
    • Biodegradable Plastic: A degradable plastic such that degradation occurs via naturally occurring microorganisms (microbes, i.e. bacteria, algae, fungi, etc).
    • Compostable Plastic: Plastic which degrades via biological processes and which, through aerobic processes will yield carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass (humus) at a rate comparable to known compostable materials, and which leaves no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue.

    Upcycling is a method used throughout the plastics industry. It is a process of taking waste materials or products of little to no value, and converting them into new materials and products with improved quality, lower environmental impact, and overall higher value.  An example is Valox/Xenoy. They take waste PET (from water bottles, etc) and turn it into PBT-so instead of having a less valuable recycled material; it’s a higher quality “upcycled” material. There are specific standard test methods for determining whether a material truly is compostable or biodegradable.  ASTM 6400 is the standard for determining whether a plastic is compostable, and ASTM 6868 determines whether a plastic is biodegradable. European standard EN 13432 also sets specifications for determining biodegradability.

    It is worth noting that studies have shown that if compostable plastics are mishandled (i.e., disposed of in landfills-thus placed in an anaerobic environment), biodegradation may produce methane instead of carbon dioxide.

  • Types of Bioplastic

    Bioplastics In Our Repertoire

    The following chart lists materials which are either bio-based, biodegradable, compostable or environmentally responsible. The bolded letters BC, and ER stand for biodegradable, compostable, or environmentally responsible, respectively. Please note: information in this chart has been gathered primarily from the manufacturer’s website and is not intended to be anything more than a compilation of research.

     

    Trade Name Grade(s) Manufacturer Material
    Type
    Environmental Impact:
    B, C, ER
     Applications and Examples
    Biograde C7500
    transparent
    C9550 white, opaque
    FKur Properties comparable to polystyrene: rigid and transparent depending on grade B- Biodegradability certified. ER-high content of natural resource materials (cellulose) 7500- Examples include ball pens, cosmetic pencils & bottles. However, hot runners are not recommended as bioplastics generally degrade if long dwell times and high temperatures are experienced.
    9550-Disposable cutlery and other complex articles. However, hot runners are not recommended as bioplastics generally tend to degrade when long dwell times and high temperatures are experienced
    BIOPLAST GS2189
    GF106/2
    BIOTEC Starch-based (GS2189-corn starch /GF106/2-potato starch) B.C. (in thin sections). FDA approved. Made from >60% sustainable crop material Mainly designed for packaging dry and/or fatty food. All raw materials used for  GS 2189 are listed in directive EU 10/2011. General applications
    injection molded articles (e.g. cutlery, medical devices, clips),
    semi-finished products, thermoformed products (e.g. food trays)
    GF106/02
    plasticizer-free and GMO-free thermoplastic material that contains natural potato starch. General Applications – short life biodegradable products for single use disposable fast food packaging. Also:  thermoformed products, injection molded products, agricultural products, tubes, packaging, carrier bags, refuse bags
    Cereplast (no longer available) Sustainable 1001 Cereplast acquired by Trellis Earth Bioplastics— Learn more PLA. Nearly 100% of petroleum-based additives replaced with renewable resourced material. B. Compostable, but not in required time for certification. Designed to have excellent impact strength, rigidity, and processability. NO LONGER AVAILABLE
    ECHO®  RPPC 20/10 Ravago Manufacturing Americas Recycled PE and PP compound- unfilled, glass and mineral filled ER- 100% postindustrial feedstocks Suitable for various applications in the industrial, automotive, construction and consumer durable markets
    EcoPaXX®  Q-HG10 DSM distributed by Chase Plastics High-performance polyamide (PA410) B- mainly from tropical castor beans (up to 70% ) ER-certified 100% carbon neutral from cradle to gate Excellent chemical resistance, low moisture absorption, combined with a very high melting point (highest of all bio-plastics) and high crystallization rate Body panel and wheel coversengine coverswindows systemscrankshaft coverssnowboard bindingsfuel vapor separators
    Eco-Pure Eco-Pure (additive) Bio-Tec Environmental Bio-Based Resin Enhancer-compatible with most traditional plastics B- Cost effective at concentration of 0.7% of load weight. FDA compliant, will not leach Standard additives are engineered to work on many different types of plastics, including EVA, EVOH, HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE, nylons, PET, PETG, polycarbonate and PP.
    It coats plastics to help biodegrade faster.
    Ingeo-Natureworks PLA 3001D Natureworks LLC -Jamplast(Distr.) PLA, corn-based C-industrially Applications include cutlery, cups, plates, cosmetics, and outdoor novelties. FDA approved food-safe
    KALIX 2855: 55% glass fiber,
    3850 50% glass fiber,
    Solvay The first commercially available bio-based amorphous PPA materials 2855: ER-27% bio-content contain monomers from the sebacic acid chain derived from non-food competing and GMO-free castor oil
    3850: ER-16% bio-content contain monomers from the sebacic acid chain derived from non-food competing and GMO-free castor oil
    2855: high impact, higher strength, stiffness and ductility than 2955
    3850: lowest flash, low warpage, higher strength, stiffness and ductility than 3950.
    High-performance polyamides (HPPA) are designed for structural components used in smart mobile electronic devices. They provide high strength, rigidity and a high-quality surface finish along with improved processing.
    Mapka Custom blended Eco Bio Plastics Midland (EBPM) Custom blended-utilizes up to 60% paper (from virgin or post-consumer sources) combines with a copolymer base resin. ER-reduces non-renewable content by as much as sixty (60) percent in weight Food, Pharmaceutical, Industrial and Automotive applications. MAPKA significantly improved properties in tensile strength, tensile modulus, flexural strength, and flexural modulus. Also reduces mold shrinkage.
    Natural MT GM-J105
    GM-J106
    KS Tronic PLA based, but a unique formulation mixes PLA with plant starch and plant fibers ER-100% Derived from Plants and Natural Materials B.C-ASTM D6400 and EN 13432 Certified Biodegradable and Compostable Cups, bowls, tableware, toys, disposable bottles and shelf life critical plastic products, just to name a few. Additional grades are applicable to other applications.
    Proganic (no longer available) Proganic- Pro earth Propper GmbH & Co. KG PHA, plant wax, minerals, natural coloring B.C- 2010 Biomaterial of the Year NO LONGER AVAILABLE
    RTP ECO SOLUTIONS / BIOPLASTIC COMPOUNDS RTP 2099 X 115387 C 
    RTP 2099 X 121216 G
    RTP 2099 X 124790 A 
    RTP 2099 X 121249 C
    RTP Co. BiobasedPolyamide (PA) Bio-Based Polylactic Acid (PLA) RTP 2099X 115387C: ER-34% Renewable Bio-Content Contains wear resistant enhancement
    RTP 2099X 121216G: ER-68% Renewable Resource Content
    RTP 2099X 124790A: ER- 78% Renewable Resource Content
    RTP 2099X 121249C: ER: 68% Renewable Resource Content. 30% glass fiber reinforced PLA grade. Because the glass fiber component of this compound does not contain any carbon, this product has been certified to have a biobased carbon content of 99%.“USDA Certified Biobased Product”
    These products are ideal for end-use applications like semi-durable consumer
    goods, housing and enclosures for electronics and business equipment,
    industrial components, electrical connectors, and automotive interiors. Learn more:  http://www.rtpcompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/bioplastics.pdf
    Rilsan Invent Arkema A polyamide 11 fine powder for laser sintering produced from castor oil ER- 100% renewable origin “The most suitable solution for prototype manufacturing, as well as limited-run (rapid) manufacturing.”
    From aerospace to electronics to automotive, companies around the world increasingly use LS ”laser sintering” to speed up the design, development, and market introduction of new products.
    Valox iQ iQ420HP White, Blue, and Green Sabic Innovative Plastics PBT 30% GF ER- Made using up to 85% post-consumer PET (upcycled) Excellent strength, stiffness and dimensional stability. High heat resistance. Appliance handles, spotlights, electric motors, connectors.
    Valox iQ 4860 BK Sabic Innovative Plastics PBT 30% GF, FR, hydrolytically stable, impact modified ER- Made using up to 85% post-consumer PET (upcycled) Electrical/electronics, automotive,
    consumer goods, industrial, telecom, food contact applications
    Xenoy iQ 1103U Sabic Innovative Plastics PC/PBT Alloy.  High Impact, Impact Modified ER- Made using up to 60% post-consumer PET (upcycled) Automotive, other vehicle and device (OVAD) exteriors, power tool housings, electrical and electronics
    Learn more.Chevrolet Volt (example)

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The Aviation Industry is highly regulated with demands and controls that ensure the safety and reliability of equipment and materials. Our aviation, space and defense customers can be confident that HARBEC retains a certified Quality Management System which is well implemented and designed to deliver increased customer satisfaction as a natural by-product of tracking key quality goals of on-time delivery and compliant product to our customers. Our processes are monitored to improve efficiency, ensure product safety and reliability while continually improving.

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The Medical Industry is highly regulated with demands and controls that ensure regulatory requirements and customer expectations are met. Our medical device customers can be confident that HARBEC retains a certified Quality Management System which is well implemented and designed to deliver increased customer satisfaction as a natural by-product of tracking key quality goals of on-time delivery and compliant product to our customers. Our ISO 13485 management system adopts a risk management approach which, while having these controls in place, eliminates hazardous situations throughout the product realization process.

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HARBEC is a registered ITAR company. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a set of United States Government regulations on the export and import of defense related articles and services. Our Defense and Military customers can have complete confidence that HARBEC has an established and implemented ITAR compliance program and adhere to the strict guidelines set forth by ITAR and EAR statutes.

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