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3M’s new welding helmet in flame retardant PP from Paxymer

3M and Paxymer have developed a unique formulation for a new welding helmet together. The helmet was originally designed in polyamide but will now be run in a flame retarded polypropylene formulation from Paxymer that gives weight, cost and environmental benefits.

“The challenges in this project were to make sure that the mask is not ignited by the sparks from the weld while preserving the mechanical and processing properties of the final product.”, says Amit Paul MD for Paxymer AB. “Paxymer has been able to meet this critical balance through its anti-dripping functionality and excellent compatibility with the base PP.”

The switch from polyamide to polypropylene has provided several advantages that 3Ms designers hoped for. Both flame retardant requirements and the tough mechanical properties were met thanks to Paxymers’ unique properties. The other benefit of the switch from polyamide to polypropylene modified with Paxymer is the environmental aspect; the welding helmet has a high recyclability and a limited environmental footprint.

The project has been conducted over the last couple of months in close collaboration between the companies. 3M launches the product globally with the expectation to target the high volume segment on the market for welding helmets and complement the already existing wide range of products in the high quality segment. The first material batches are already delivered and the welding helmet is expected to reach the market during the second half of 2013.

“We are really excited about the possibility to work with 3M on this project. It is thrilling that we actually managed to switch a polyamide to a flame retarded polypropylene without having to change the material specification on the product. That gives a hint of the potential we see in the Paxymer system. “ says Swaraj Paul, technical director and inventor of Paxymer.