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PC grades meet tougher train fire standard

Plastics News Europe staff
Posted 13 November 2012

Sabic Innovative Plastics has developed new polycarbonate grades in resin and sheet form for rail seating applications to meet fire safety requirements under the CEN/TS 45445 standard.

The Saudi group's new Lexan FST3403 PC copolymer is an injection moulding grade for train seat back shells and side covers. The grade is being offered two years before the European CEN/TS 45445 standard goes into effect.

The copolymer was tested by the Currenta Institute in Germany according to the requirements of the standard and was certified to comply with hazard level 3, the most challenging level to achieve. Currenta tested the material for heat release under ISO 5660-1 and for smoke density and toxicity under ISO 5659-2.

Sabic said the material also provides high flow capabilities meaning that large parts, such as seat back shells, can be injection moulded without surface defects. It can also be moulded in tooling that is typically used for PC/acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) materials.

Ilknur Gur, general manager in Sabic's specialty business in Europe, said: "Our new Lexan FST3403 copolymer enables customers to continue using thermoplastics in their seat back shells and side covers instead of having to revert to traditional metal or thermosets that can inhibit design flexibility and potentially add weight and costs from secondary operations."

Sabic has also developed new sheet grades for thermoforming, which it launched at the InnoTrans 2012 show in Berlin in September. Lexan H6500 is a PC/acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (PC/ABS) sheet grade that complies with the CEN/TS 45545 standard, and Lexan H6200 sheet is a new grade that complies with Germany's DIN norm.

Lexan H6500 can be thermoformed at a lower temperature than traditional PC materials.

Lexan H6200 is intended for less demanding applications such as cladding.

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