“By looking for gaps in existing patents, we scovered some neglected solutions”
Enhanced flame-retardancy The Nexans Research Center in Nuremberg (Germany) has produced a new highly flame-retardant Thermoplastic PolyUrethane (TPU) under the brand name of PUR-Medoxprotect-S which could revolutionize many fire-sensitive cable applications.
An inside job
This internally-developed TPU is a Halogen-Free Flame-Retardant (HFFR) compound that has other important material properties. It is self-extinguishing, has reduced fire load (i.e. releases less energy during combustion), and generates less noxious gases and smoke. It can also be produced by Nexans in-house, which means a real cost advantage.
Automation to automobiles Given its high mechanical strength and chemical/environmental resistance, the compound is mainly used in automation (for sensor cables on production lines), but has tremendous potential for material handling, mining, automotives, oil & gas, wind turbines, etc.
A patent success When we started, there was only one supplier offering a TPU with good flame retardancy, but which was inadequate for some applications. The NRC then did benchmarking and studied existing patents. We found a gap in patents since some previously-ignored additives showed better performance than commercial compounds. Once patented and tested on prototypes in our own labs, samples were sent to customers for their approval. Finally, we transferred the process to industrial equipment in the Nuremberg plant.
Unique compound There is nothing comparable to PUR-Medoxprotect-S on the market today; and since the compound is patented and can be produced internally, this means a clear competitive advantage. We hope to see this exciting new compound used in a whole range of Nexans cable products where fire-safety is an issue.
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