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Application and Trend of Flame Retardant PP Materials in Household Appliance Industry

Mar 09, 2018

1.the overall situation of the industry

Under the promotion of the "Twelfth Five-Year Plan", China's home appliance industry has achieved a transformation and upgrading, from a smart home appliance manufacturing country to a smart home appliance manufacturing powerhouse, where the application of new materials, new technologies, and new energy is of utmost importance. At present, due to the requirements of the smoothness and rigidity of the appearance of home appliances, ABS (styrene-butadiene-acrylonitrile polymer) and HIPS (impact polystyrene) materials are mainly used in applications. In many application areas with safety fire protection requirements, such as TV housings, washer motor housings, etc., flame retardant ABS, HIPS are widely used to meet the performance requirements of home appliance parts for flame retardant and fire prevention. However, these two materials have two shortcomings: First, the high prices, due to the variety of raw materials used in the synthesis of ABS and HIPS, coupled with the more complex synthesis methods and processes, resulting in higher resin raw material prices; second is the resistance to yellowing As well as anti-aging performance, ABS and HIPS resins are limited by the material structure. In the long-term use, the material will undergo yellowing and aging, affecting the use of materials, especially in light-colored home appliances. With the increasingly fierce competition in the home appliance industry, the performance requirements and cost requirements of the home appliance manufacturing companies have become higher and higher. PP material has gradually gained the favor of manufacturers due to its low price, excellent yellowing resistance and aging resistance, and good molding processability.

2 flame retardant PP market distribution

From the regional distribution, China's flame-retardant PP production companies are mainly concentrated in the Yangtze River Delta region and the Pearl River Delta region, the data show that these two regions account for about 85% of the national total production of flame-retardant PP.

Although the current domestic production technology and scale of flame-retardant PP are still somewhat different from those of foreign countries, compared with foreign production companies, domestic companies are still relatively backward in terms of product stability and product added value. However, the domestic modified plastics industry has developed rapidly, especially for some technology-oriented enterprises. The development level of its flame-retardant technology is not only at the forefront of the industry in China, but also has gradually approached or even surpassed foreign countries in the technology R&D and market size of flame-retardant PP. Similar companies.

Third, the performance requirements of flame retardant PP used in home appliances

Flame-retardant PP is mainly applied to black household appliances, because white goods have high requirements for aesthetics, and flame-retardant PP performance in this area is still not ideal. Because flame-retardant PP has the advantages of easy processing and low price, it is widely used in some components that have low requirements on the performance of materials, especially for heat resistance, such as terminal blocks and wall switches in computer cases. Fuel-fired PP materials can reduce production costs while better meeting product demand. Because of this, flame-retardant PP has a wide range of applications in motors, skeleton coils and other fields. The following describes the performance requirements of several types of flame retardant PP materials used in home appliances.

1. Washing machine motor housing

The motor housing in the washing machine mainly plays a fixed role in protecting the motor of the washing machine. In the process of high-speed dewatering of the washing machine, some parts may generate sparks due to vibration and friction. Therefore, in order to operate the motor more safely, many manufacturers put forward flame retardant requirements for the motor housing materials. For this reason, some companies have developed flame-retardant PP products that can meet the requirements of home appliance companies. Take Jin's products as an example, its test data is shown in Table 1.


Table 1 Gold Flame Retardant PP Shell Performance Test Data

2. Home appliance socket

The household appliance socket switch belongs to a category of small household appliances. The socket of the home appliance socket and the terminal that functions as a connection are made of a flame-retardant material. According to the current standard of residential buildings, the demand for residential outlets is about 800 million.

In order to increase product price competitiveness, domestic socket enterprises have gradually started using flame-retardant PP instead of flame retardant ABS to make home socket housings. Flame retardant PP products applied to socket parts are listed in Table 


Table 2 Test data of gold household socket materials

As can be seen from Table 3, on the premise of satisfying the performance requirements of the product, compared with the flame-retardant ABS material, the flame-retardant PP material is reduced in weight by 20% and the cost is reduced by 37%. It is based on this significant advantage that the current lightweight, cost-effective flame-retardant PP products have replaced most of the traditional flame-retardant ABS products.


Table 3 Comparison of the cost of flame retardant ABS and flame retardant PP

Air conditioning shell

Household air-conditioner indoor unit casing, the traditional material selection is generally HIPS or ABS, and in recent years there has been a gradual replacement of aging PP material alternatives. With the continuous improvement of consumers' safety requirements for indoor home appliances, many air-conditioning companies have begun to use flame-retardant PP as the material for indoor unit housings. In addition to flame retardant PP can meet the basic performance of air conditioning shell and flame retardant performance requirements, compared to flame retardant ABS and other materials, its anti-aging properties also have more obvious advantages.

Fourth, the direction of modification of flame-retardant PP

1. Low-halogen, low-smoke and environmentally friendly flame-retardant PP

Halogen-based flame-retardant PP materials account for about 70 to 80% of the flame-retardant material market. Due to its low price and stable flame-retardant effect, it is difficult to find alternatives in most home appliance applications. Therefore, for a long time to come, halogen-containing flame-retardant PP will still be the main flame-retardant material. At the same time, with the successful development of more and more new high-efficiency halogen-based flame retardants, it also provides technical support for the development of low-halogen, low-smoke and environmentally friendly flame-retardant PP. In the future, low-halogen, low-smoke and environmentally-friendly flame-retardant PP will become a key research and development direction for material manufacturers.

2. Halogen-free flame retardant PP

With the introduction of the ROHS Regulations by the European Union, many international companies have banned or restricted the use of certain substances contained in materials. In view of this situation, halogen-free flame-retardant PP has become a hot topic in the industry. However, the price of halogen-free flame retardants is still high, and the problem of high development costs remains to be solved.

3. Anti-aging, high gloss

Because PP contains unstable structural groups, it is prone to aging and degradation due to the effects of light, heat, and oxygen, resulting in discoloration and decreased strength, which limits its application in home appliances, especially high-end outdoor home appliances. In the future, the aging-resistant modification of flame-retardant PP and the prolonged service life of the flame-retardant PP material in harsh environments are issues that are urgently needed for flame-retardant PP in high-end home appliances.


Fig.1 Comparison of the retention of flexural strength after flame retardant PP and flame retardant ABS

In addition, compared with the flame-retardant ABS, HIPS high-gloss surface effect, flame-retardant PP applications are still a lot less in the appearance of home appliances. Therefore, improving the surface gloss and appearance of flame-retardant PP will help expand the application of flame-retardant PP products.

Fifth, the development trend of home appliances flame retardant materials

In order to avoid fire, many countries have high flame retardant requirements for electronic parts in household appliances and parts that may have potential fire hazards. Appliance manufacturers have increased the fire protection rating of many parts in order to create a safer environment for users. In the PP plastic parts, some of the original PP products with low flame retardance or no clear flame retardant performance requirements have gradually increased the requirements for fire-retardant materials.

It can be predicted that with the development of flame-retardant materials, more new flame-retardant products will continue to be developed. As a supplier of modified plastics, Kim also closely follows the development trend of the home appliance industry, focusing on the development of new modified materials for household appliances, and continues to provide new material solutions for home appliances.