“At present, five materials account for 90% of the global engineering plastic market, but none of them has surpassed the polyamide or nylon that were developed in 1938, whether in terms of physical properties or price,” said Woo Sang-seon, head of the Hyosung R&DB Labs on November 4 at a press conference in Seoul. He added, “However, my company has opened a new chapter in the high-polymer material industry by coming up with polyketone.”
His confidence is based on the fact that polyketone has superior properties compared to existing plastic engineering materials. For example, polyketone’s impact strength and chemical resistance are at least 2.3 and 2.5 times higher than those of nylon, respectively. This means that it can be a better material for use in vehicle wheel covers, electrical and electronic connectors, engine covers, antifreeze containers, and fuel tank caps, for instance.
At the same time, polyketone’s wear resistance is 14 times higher than that of polyacetal, which is the most rigid high-polymer material, and thus it can be utilized as a part of electrical and electronics devices, gears and the like. “In addition, because our new development has a degree of textile elasticity more than double those of existing materials, it can have a wide range of applications in the manufacturing of tire cords, industrial ropes, and hoses,” he continued, adding, “There is an additional advantage on the production side that the raw material can be procured at an inexpensive cost by using the pollutant of carbon monoxide.”
Hyosung’s development is especially meaningful in that it is an original technology. “Up to now, many American and Japanese companies have made continuous attempts, only to fail, to develop polyketone,” the director added, “Our owner-led long-term investment has borne fruit in the development of the new material that requires five years of R&D at the least.” The company began the development in the early 2000s.
Hyosung is expecting that it will be able to monopolize the production and sale of polyketone worldwide, once it establishes a mass production system by 2015. The newly-created added value is expected to be over 10 trillion won (US$9.4 billion), including the direct added value of one trillion won (US$940 million). “By our estimation, the original technology will increase the added value by a factor of 26.7 when applied to auto parts,” he continued.
“The global engineering plastics market is forecast to reach 66 trillion won [US$62 million] in size in 2015, in which we will take a big share by commercializing the polyketone resin,” the company remarked. It went on to say, “In doing so, we will raise our global engineering plastic market share to over 30% down the road.”