Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. (President: Shinya Ishizu) and Ube Industries, Ltd. (President: Kazumasa Tsunemi) announced that they have jointly developed SUNBESTA™, a two-layer fuel tube system which requires both the fluoropolymers produced by Asahi Glass and the Nylon 12 resins produced by Ube Industries.
Asahi Glass has sold fluoropolymers (Fluon®) for years, as Ube Industries has sold Nylon 12 resins (UBESTA). The companies succeeded in developing a special type of ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) polymer and Nylon 12 resin and combined them in a fuel tube system that is the first of its kind in the world. The companies are marketing the tube system primarily for automobile fuel tubes.
Fluoropolymers form an excellent permeation barrier to fuels and are highly resistant to chemicals, while Nylon 12 resins have excellent flexibility and resistance to low-temperature impact and chemicals. Utilizing these qualities, automobile manufacturers have for many years employed a multi-layer fuel tube system made up of both materials to comply with increasingly stringent automotive emissions regulations and to facilitate the use of alternative alcohol-based fuels.
However, existing systems require an adhesive layer between the fluoropolymer and Nylon 12 layers, and because the adhesive lacks sufficient strength and durability, performance deterioration has been a problem. Asahi Glass and Ube Industries have resolved these problems by making the most of the characteristics of their respective resins while developing them to strongly adhere to each other in co-extrusion.
The two companies have already begun supplying samples for customers in Japan and other countries, and are obtaining evaluation results far superior to existing systems. The system can be used not only for automobile fuel, but also for various kinds of industrial tube hoses. The companies plan to continue developing the product for a wide range of applications.
The special features of the SUNBESTA™ system are as follows.
Asahi Glass has manufacturing and sales base of fluoropolymer in Europe and the U.S., and Ube Industries is considering production of Nylon 12 resins in Spain in addition to existing production in its Ube factory. Both companies are actively developing markets in the U.S. and Europe as well as within Japan. In particular, there has been a rapid increase in demand in the U.S., where fuel vaporization regulations are becoming more stringent. Asahi Glass and Ube Industries expect sales of 7.5 billion yen and 3.5 billion yen, respectively, in 2007.
SUNBESTA™ will be exhibited at the Asahi Glass booth at the "2003 Automotive Engineering Exposition" to be held at the Pacifico Yokohama from May 21-23. It will also be exhibited by Ube Industries at the NPE 2003, the largest plastics show in the U.S., to be held June 23-27 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
2003 Automotive Engineering Exposition