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Asahi Kasei Europe Launches German Foam Lab

Asahi Kasei Europe has opened a foam lab at its R&D Center in Düsseldorf, Germany. Localizing technical support and grade development in Europe is the company’s next step in business expansion of its SunForce family of high-performance engineering plastic particle foams.

The new Foam Lab was installed in December 2021 and is scheduled to start operation this spring. The centerpiece of the new lab is the beads foaming facility, which will be used to locally produce test samples of SunForce engineering plastics­–based particle beads foam for European customers.

Image courtesy of Asahi KaseiSunForce BE foam
Sunforce BE foam based on modified polyphenylene ether has been used in automotive battery cell holders.

This high-performance foam family is made of modified polyphenylene ether (mPPE) and polyamide (PA) and is a key element of Asahi Kasei’s business expansion in Europe. “The foam lab is the next milestone for us to realize faster local support and will allow us to more flexibly react to our European customers’ needs,” said Yoshito Kuroda, General Manager R&D at Asahi Kasei Europe.

Both SunForce types are unique, with mPPE-based SunForce BE being the first material of its kind to be rated UL 94 V-0 for flame retardancy. In addition, it offers dimensional stability, processability, and insulation properties that can, for example, contribute to safer, more efficient, and more sustainable EV battery modules.

PA-based SunForce AS delivers heat resistance (190℃/30 min), as well as oil and chemical resistance.

Common to both particle foam types is very good adhesion to metals, carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics, and fibers. These properties open up new areas of application that were not feasible for conventional foams. Located in the center of Europe, the heart of innovation in sustainable materials, the foam lab will furthermore focus on the development of SunForce grades with improved recyclability.

“The close proximity to the European market and the strong collaboration with our partners will help to develop new recyclable grades that perfectly fit the increasing demands of our customers in regard to maintaining material performance while at the same time drastically improving its carbon footprint and recyclability,” said Takashi Onoe, Manager R&D of SunForce at Asahi Kasei Europe.

The foam lab is located at Asahi Kasei Europe’s R&D Center in Düsseldorf Harbor, Germany. In addition to the new facility for SunForce, the R&D center provides grade development and technical customer support related to engineering plastics, synthetic rubber, and battery and coating materials.

Asahi Kasei Europe will present SunForce at JEC World on May 3 to 5 in Paris. It is exhibiting at booth P18 in hall 5.

Image: Asahi Kasei Europe

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