Cost Improvements and Environmental Benefits To Come From New Boiler Materials From SABIC Innovative Plastics

To enhance the cost and environmental benefits of wall-hung condensing boilers for residential use, SABIC Innovative Plastics offers high-performance Noryl, Ultem and Cycoloy resins to replace traditional metals such as copper and brass used in boiler components, such as condenser housings and manifolds. These engineering thermoplastics, developed and tested in Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands at the company's Fluid Engineering Center of Excellence, may enhance design freedom, extend part life, and avoid the use of heavy metals such as lead.

Left: Conceptual Drawing of Manifold Assembly Showing Parts Replaced with Engineering Thermoplastics Right: Conceptual Boiler Showing Possibilities for Metal Replacement in Components such as Manifolds, Condenser Housings and Enclosure Components

"Although wall-hung domestic boilers have been widely used in Europe for years, accelerating efforts to reduce global warming and cut fuel costs are driving more global use of high-efficiency condensing models," said Gunes Celik, SABIC Innovative Plastics' new business development manager in Europe. "SABIC Innovative Plastics is deeply involved in developing new materials for our customers to enhance the performance, longevity and fuel efficiency of heating boilers. Through our research and testing, we offer customers the latest material solutions for designing next-generation products that can efficiently heat homes without overheating the planet."

New Resins Outperform Traditional Metals in Boiler Design and Operation

SABIC Innovative Plastics has developed the new resins to provide many advantages over existing metals. For high-efficiency condensing boilers, which are growing annually by 10 percent in Europe, Noryl PPX resin offers a better choice than stainless steel for condenser housings. As wall-hung boilers become more efficient, the temperature requirement for the housings drops, while chemical resistance becomes more important (due to condensation of exhaust fumes). With greater exposure to chemicals, metal corrodes. Noryl PPX resin provides exceptional chemical resistance for longer part life, as well as the ability to withstand the required heat from the condenser.

Other candidates for metal replacement are boiler manifolds, which have historically been made of copper tubing and brass parts. Using metal is labor-intensive, complex and expensive. Further, brass contains lead, which is being increasingly discouraged by authorities and is already restricted in California, U.S.A. By upgrading to Noryl glass-filled resin or Ultem resin - SABIC Innovative Plastics materials for highly demanding designs - manufacturers may be able to consolidate parts, create new products more easily, reduce weight, and save on fabrication and assembly costs.

A third application area is the boiler control panel cover and enclosure components, typically made of painted sheet metal. SABIC Innovative Plastics' flame-retardant Cycoloy resins offer excellent aesthetics and surface finishes combined with high-flow properties to mold thin-wall parts. With Cycoloy resins, manufacturers can achieve attractive covers and comply with flame retardancy requirements without the secondary operations required for metal, as well as reducing the overall weight of the boiler.

Compliance with New Regulations

National health institutes worldwide specify requirements of polymers in potable water. For instance in Germany, Kunststoffe im Trinkwasser (KTW) and the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW) recently upgraded regulations that influence plastics selection in hot water, such as for microbiological growth (W270). Both Noryl and Ultem resin grades from SABIC innovative Plastics possess an extensive listing for tests like these.

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