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EC Funding Secured for SafeRubber Under FP7 Framework

West Bromwich, UK and Informex USA, Charlotte, NC, Feb 10th, 2011 – Robinson Brothers Ltd., today announced it has secured funding from the European Commission (EC) for their SafeRubber project. The initiative has received EC funding under the FP7 framework to develop a new, safe, multifunctional accelerator curative molecule which can replace thiourea-based accelerators in the vulcanisation process of synthetic rubbers.

The SafeRubber project, which is led by Robinson Brothers and coordinated by Assocomaplast, brings together a consortium of 12 members from 6 European countries with a wealth of experience and knowledge in the rubber and plastics industries. The project partners are focused on developing an innovative solution that will deliver several benefits. This first benefit is an IP-protectable method for producing polychloroprene rubber, with reduces costs associated with health and safety – protecting them from the current dominance of large enterprises. Second, a 90% reduction in the quantities of MgO and ZnO required during vulcanisation, achieved through using a multi-functional accelerator – allowing the SME members to compete on cost with Far Eastern suppliers. Finally, the project aims to reduce environmental impact through reduced feedstock (of MgO and ZnO) and effluent hazards associated with the process.

“We came up with this idea that the ethylene thiourea (ETU) should be replaced due to its toxicity levels and had to determine the best way to begin that process,” explained Adrian Hanrahan, Managing Director of Robinson Brothers. “We began with the idea of what molecules and blends of molecules might help us achieve this goal. Since then, a number of partners expressed interest in offering their help to understand what mechanisms should be put in place to prove or disprove our hypothesis.”

Thiourea-based accelerators, in particular ETU, are extensively used in the vulcanisation of polychloroprene rubber as they produce high performance rubber cure systems. However, ETU is inherently toxic, being listed as a Category 2 carcinogen under EU classification, and by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The knowledge of this toxicity sparked the interest of Robinson Brothers and a desire to replace the potentially harmful substance. The SafeRubber project has been granted several million Euro in funding and will use the money over the course of three years with benchmarks in pace to ensure progress.

To find out more information about Robinson Brothers Ltd., please visit: http://www.robac.co.uk/  or for more information about the SafeRubber protect, please visit: www.saferubber.eu/project

 


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