Processing Magazine

Bio-renewable resins used in molding components for pharmaceutical industry

April 15, 2009
As the demand for Bio-Renewable materials rises, one company has begun molding components for the pharmaceutical industry using bio-renewable resins. The U.S. Green Building Council, and their LEED™ initiative have driven this demand in large part. The U.S. Green Building Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community of leaders working to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation. LEED™ stands for Leadership in Energy Efficient Design and the initiative assigns a point system to new construction projects that meet performance and sustainability goals. The use of bio-renewable materials in new construction projects is highly encouraged. For one customer the application required switching existing acrylic components to the new material. The first component to be converted was a plenum used to exhaust air from the laboratory. How Green are the new plenums? The parts are manufactured using a process called light RTM where the resin, Envirez 86400 INF, is injected into a closed mold which holds the fiberglass reinforcement. ENVIREZ resins contain 12% bio-renewable and/or recycled raw materials by weight. The raw material selection results in a finished resin product with lower CO2 impact and reduced energy consumption compared to a standard petrochemical based resin. Each drum displaces about 80 pound of CO2 and 7 gallons of oil compared to standard petrochemical based resins. The resin may be just the start for the drive to go “Green” at Sikes Composites. They are also looking at natural fiber reinforcements and cleaning agents to replace acetone.