Competition drives innovation and results in more and better choices for consumers. Just consider how manufacturing companies use their creativity to bring many new products to market, where they can be seen on store shelves or for sale online.
These market forces are engines for free enterprise, whether it’s a breakthrough for finished products or for specialized components that are integral to the supply chain. Often, a subtle change in a critical component results in a dramatic improvement in an end product.
One new material, ElectriPlast®, will enable manufacturers to produce products that are lighter and more cost effective, as it is a “green” alternative to steel and aluminum.
“ElectriPlast® is engineered to replace traditional metals such as steel and aluminum
and is as electrically conductive as if it were metal,” says Doug Bathauer, CEO of Integral Technologies, Inc., the manufacturer of ElectriPlast®.
“ElectriPlast® is a family of non-corrosive, electrically conductive resin-based materials whose properties allow it to be molded into any of the infinite shapes and sizes associated with plastics, rubbers and other polymers while reducing component weight by 40 percent to 60 percent.”
Manufacturers in New Jersey and around the world are interested in making their products as light as possible without losing quality or durability—less weight means lower production costs, less expensive fuel requirements and a more environment-friendly process.
ElectriPlast’s commercial applicability extends across many industry verticals, including automotive and transportation; alternative energy; batteries; consumer electronics; aerospace; mobile and telecommunications; medical devices; and military and defense.
“Typically used for electrical and magnetic shielding applications in such industries as automotive, aerospace, defense, batteries, industrial materials, manufacturing and consumer electronics, ElectriPlast® has applications in antennas, shielding, lighting circuitry, switch actuators, resistors, medical devices, thermal management and cable connector bodies,” says Bathauer.
ElectriPlast® is manufactured into a pellet by extruding a plastic resin containing
metal fibers rather than mixing the resin with fibers (as is done with other conductive plastics).
“The pellet can be fabricated into virtually any shape or dimension for almost any manufacturing industry,” explains Bathauer. “ElectriPlast® can be fabricated using low-cost capital investment: injection molding and extrusion vs. metal stamping. Its design flexibility, shorter development cycle and speed manufacturing create a valuable market
edge for customers.”
Analysts estimate that the marketplace for ElectriPlast® products will be $32 billion to $38 billion annually by 2020.
“Delphi Automotive, BASF and Hanwha are all large, publicly traded multinational companies that can potentially incorporate ElectriPlast® into multiple products,” adds Bathauer.
In addition, all of the major auto manufacturers are attempting to produce lighter-weight vehicles. For example, Ford’s 2015 model F-150, which accounted for 1-in-20 cars sold in the United States, is 700 pounds lighter than its 2014 model with aluminum alloy
replacing the heavier steel frame.”
Will ElectriPlast® be the next lightweight material to enter the supply chain?
“Carbon fiber is a major input in the manufacturing of ElectriPlast®, and as prices continue to decline, ElectriPlast® becomes viable and competitive as a lightweight material,” says One Equity Research.
“U.S. regulators are mandating that auto manufacturers reduce emissions by 65 percent by 2025, which creates a viable opportunity for ElectriPlast® to become a part of the supply chain in one or more future vehicle product lines,” adds Bathauer.
ElectriPlast® has another important quality—it cuts electromagnetic interference by reducing the coupling of radio waves, electromagnetic fields and electrostatic fields. It may be able to replace most of the metals used in this capacity today. According to BCC Research, the global market for shielding materials and technologies is forecast to reach $7.9 billion by 2020.
ElectriPlast® may one day be a solution that gets widely adopted, keeping prized manufacturing jobs in the Garden State and in the United States. For now, as Trenton lawmakers aim to push through a huge increase in the state gas tax to replenish the state’s transportation Trust Fund, the idea of lighterweight vehicles that use less fuel seems worth pursuing with all deliberate speed.