AkzoNobel and DSM have officially launched the BluCure brand covering Cobalt-free resin curing technologies and products.The two companies also unveiled the BluCure quality seal, which guarantees that products are 100% Cobalt-free.
In the composite industry, Unsaturated Polyester (UP) and Vinyl Ester (VE) resins are used to produce many different parts and materials, including glassfibre reinforced plastics (FRP/GRP), gel coats and non-reinforced products.
For the ambient temperature curing of these resins both organic peroxides and accelerators are needed. Until recently accelerators used for curing UP/VE resins were mainly cobalt salts such as Cobalt octoate and Cobalt (di)acetate. The accelerator decomposes the peroxide and the free radicals that are formed initiate the curing reaction.
The new BluCure materials will offer more sustainable alternatives to conventional, Cobalt-based systems. BluCure Products are either Cobalt-free accelerators or Cobalt-free pre-accelerated resins and meet strict criteria.
Alain Rynwalt, sBU Director Marketing & Sales XTP EMEA for AkzoNobel Functional Chemicals explains;
Environmental pressure on Cobalt is gaining momentum, in order to stay one step ahead of the legislators both companies have developed eco-friendly Cobalt-free curing systems. Composite component manufacturers can now qualify for the BluCure Seal, which offers the industry a way to distinguish products that are based on 100% Cobalt-free BluCure Technology.
Discussions are ongoing with resin manufacturers who are interested in partnering up with BluCure. Composite component manufacturers are also invited to join in by obtaining a license for using the BluCure Seal on their products.
Environmental arguments against Cobalt are gaining momentum. Cobalt di(acetate) and Cobalt dichloride were placed on the SVHC list in 2011, while Cobalt octoate is currently under evaluation. A test program for this substance proposed by the Cobalt REACH Consortium is currently being reviewed by ECHA.