PFOA-free production of plastics

For years perfluorooctanoic acids (PFOAs) have been used in the EU to produce the plastic PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene). PTFE is used as textile membranes, for example in rain jackets or breathable functional clothing, but also for non-stick kitchen utensils. The fact that its properties are harmful to both the environment and health was largely ignored over the first few decades of production. However, PFOA is non-degradable and accumulates in organisms and is very toxic. Humans absorb these particles mainly from the environment or through food, but the human body is unable to break these particles down. Toxicological studies have shown that the compounds tend to accumulate in the liver and are carcinogenic and toxic for reproduction. The particles are most commonly absorbed through the use of various products such as a Teflon pans. As soon as cracks develop in the pan due to the high temperatures, the particles are released and enter the human body via the food.

At the initiative of the Environmental Protection Agency in 2013, PFOA was identified as a Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) under the European Chemicals Ordinance (REACH) and added to the ECHA Candidate List. Many companies have already switched to alternatives. Those companies that still use PFOA and precursors may use the transition period until 2020 to use more environmentally friendly substances. If PFOA whose salts or precursor compounds are used as a constituent of another substance, in a mixture or product, for example in impregnation sprays or food packaging, tolerance limits of 25 ppb for PFOA and their salts and 1,000 ppb for precursor compounds must be observed.

emtechnik has exclusively been using PFOA-free plastics since 2013 and will continue to do so in the future.

"An utterly crazy cook-off" – at the secondary school Realschule plus in Maxdorf

The Nimmerland theatre production has come up with a strategy to increase the awareness of nutrition and the food we eat on a daily basis among pupils in forms 1 to 8. Under this strategy, the theatre group visits schools in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and focuses on three areas: the play "An utterly crazy cook-off", curriculum proposals and the obstacle course of the senses in which children perceive everyday food with their five senses.

Thanks to the support by emtechnik, the play could be performed at the Justus-von-Liebig Realschule plus in Maxdorf on 9 June 2017. The 103 pupils of the 6th form had a lot of fun and will continue to address the issue during their normal lessons.

We hope that the children and teachers were able to take home some interesting facts. We are pleased that we were able to support them.

emtechnik is now on YouTube

You can now find more information about connectors, fittings and hoses on YouTube. We have recently started our own YouTube channel where we show short videos, information and news concerning emtechnik.

You can regularly see product videos including assembly instructions as well as videos from our trade fair presentations. The first videos are already online – Why not take a look?

Go to YouTube

Breaking News

In January 2017, a new subsidiary was established in Singapore to improve support for our customers in the Asian region, particularly in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia as well as Indonesia and Vietnam.

The business-friendly location has developed very well over the last few years and is a central site to deal with customers from all over the Southeast Asian market and expand our customer base.

We will first enter the analytical systems sector. Here we can gain experiences on the market and find out the needs of our customers. With this new knowledge, we will also focus on other sectors in the Asian region in the second stage. With an ear to the market as well as language skills and the knowledge of cultures from our employees on site, we offer greater proximity for our customers and can implement individual solutions more quickly.

As the year draws to a close…

...we take a moment to reflect on the past and future, memories and anticipations, things familiar and new. And we also make plans together.

2016 was an exciting and very eventful year for us. Among other things we can look back at our company's 50th anniversary and long success story (Picture 1-2), the launch of our training program (Picture 5) and the flexible tube website emtubes.com (Picture 3), as well as successful trade fairs with emtechnik (Picture 4).

Trade fairs open the way to new markets for us and give us the opportunity to respond even better to the individual needs of our customer. At upcoming trade fairs, including DrinkTec 2017 in Munich, we will use the experience and know-how we have gained to implement solutions.

You can see the highlights of 2016 in the picture gallery below.

Strong connection – easy to make

Systems that are continuously in contact with water, chemicals, high pressures or extreme temperatures quickly begin show signs of fatigue or wear. Worn spots and porous surfaces may also occur, as well as signs of corrosion.

The very chemicals used in CIP cleaning cause damage to the material characteristics, leading to cracks and uneven areas. Cleaning agents with high acid content used in the food industry corrode stainless steel tanks and pipelines. The materials for brewing systems and dairies must therefore be chosen very carefully.

Plastics, on the other hand, are more resistant to acids and alkalis. They are especially advantageous for smaller system parts, for flexible tubes, lines, valves, filling stations, taps, closing devices, covers and locks. Other benefits compared to stainless steel can be found in the simple structure and low mounting costs, which contribute to lower procurement and repair costs. Plastic elements are easy to replace. This ensures flexible applications that can be adapted to special needs. The use of plastics is practically unlimited, especially at transition points between fixed elements and flexible ones.

Thermal centres and corrosion test

Thermal baths are used as wellness oases and are beneficial for health. Problems with circulation, the respiratory system and ENT conditions can be treated here as the water has an anti-inflammatory effect. emtechnik products resistant to thermal water can be installed in the systems used for oral or ENT treatments. In practice series 5A valves and series 6L ball valves are used, for example, to be able to ensure a precise and simple flow control of the water. Here the patient can control the flow himself.

Another benefit of the products is the resistance to chemicals that are used in CIP/SIP processes. The use of plastic connectors and fittings from emtechnik in the systems intended for corrosion tests is also conceivable. The procedure is used to examine products according to criteria relevant to climate and weather. Here extreme temperatures and humidities, fast temperature fluctuations and corrosive atmospheres are simulated in climatic chambers.

No chance for germs with emtechnik

Connectors and fittings from emtechnik are integrated in many cleaning systems due to their high resistance to media and reliability, particularly for CIP cleaning. They ensure the safe supply and removal of chemical cleaning agents - even where connectors made of stainless steel would already have been corroded long ago.

In addition the products are used in dosing and filling systems. Dosing pumps pulsate through the diaphragms in the application and, depending on how large the flow is, the dosing pump moves (vibrates) faster or slower. Fixed applications tend to break more quickly. To prevent this, rigid pipes can be can replaced with flexible emtechnik tubes and combined with suitable connectors made of plastic such as tri-clamps, nuts and ball valves made of PVDF, PFA and PTFE.

We offer high-quality plastic products for any type of process that comply with the various standards and approvals. For example, products made of PVDF and PFA materials are suitable for hot steam sterilisation, PP and PEEK can be sterilised with γ radiation while fully retaining their mechanical properties. They also mainly comply with the standards and approvals of the FDA and/or EC 1935/2004, USP Class VI and are free of raw materials of animal origin (ADI-free).

emtechnik – clean drinking water

Marc Celerier, Branch Office Manager of EM-Technique SARL in France, explains in a practical example how emtechnik products are used in the production of mineral water and soda beverages:

A leading company in the water and beverage industry contacted emtechnik with the problem that too much stainless steel was integrated into their CIP processes and it was not resistant to the cleaning agents. CIP is a process that cleans the interior of pumps, vessels, process equipment, filters and fittings without prior dismantling, opening or manual involvement.

Marc's approach to the solution was to replace the stainless steel with plastic connectors and fittings from emtechnik with PVDF, PP and PFA as materials. The 3W welding tube adapter was welded with a ball valve to create an application that is easy to remove. The fixed connection is used mainly to create process transitions from rigid pipelines to flexible tubes or at pipe ends. The products feature impressive resistance to media and reliability in the application. The products that are used are also FDA-compliant. This provides a flexible and optimum solution for beverage producers.

Advantages of bio-plastics still used too rarely

As many companies become more environmentally conscious, the search is on for alternative original substances for the production of plastics. There are already a few bio-based types of plastic today. According to statistics of the Institute for Bio-plastics and Bio-composite materials (IfBB) at the Hanover Institute of Technology, 1.6 million tonnes of bio-plastics were produced in 2013 (equivalent to about 1% of global plastics production). The forecast for 2018 is somewhat different: about 6.7 million tonnes/year will be produced worldwide. By contrast, the production volume of traditional bio-based plastics such as natural rubber, linoleum and cellulose fibres is around 50 million tonnes/year.

There are two different variants: bio-based material from renewable sources and biodegradable/ compostable types of plastic. Biodegradability is more or less practical depending on the requirements for the product, as a long service life is desirable in many cases (source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2015).

By using a high-tech polyamide based on castor oil, emtechnik has succeeded for the first time in manufacturing products from 100% regenerative material. This helps us in reducing harmful greenhouse gases, which makes the overall supply chain more environmentally friendly. As usual, emtechnik relies on high quality in this area.

For example our flexible tube connector 1B+ can be injected using biopolyamide as well. It also features a compact design, sturdy construction and is easy to handle. emtechnik offers a matching flexible tube made of Biovinyl™ based in part on suitable energy sources. This saves CO₂ in the manufacturing process. Because no phthalates are used, the flexible tubes are ideally suited for liquid food¬stuffs with an alcohol content up to 20%. The polyester mesh insert allows for use in applications with increased pressure ranges.

"The Experience is Unique ..."

Carolin, dual IBA student (International Business Administration B.Sc.) in the 4th semester, reports in an interview about her internship at our office in France and which experiences she made both professionally and privately. EM Technique SARL was founded in 1985 as the first foreign subsidiary of EM-Technik GmbH.

What was your motivation to go abroad and how is the internship integrated into your studies?

During my dual studies I always spend three months at the University of Ludwigshafen and three months at emtechnik in Maxdorf. It is a dual business degree with an international focus. We have guest lectures from other countries and in addition to learning English we also learn Spanish as a further language. A stay abroad is mandatory for all IBA students. I think it is an excellent way to learn about the culture and mentality of the host country. In my opinion one can only really know a country and its peculiarities, if one is longer there than just for a holiday.

Why did you choose France? How do you manage with the French language?

I started French in 6th grade as a second foreign language and later occupied it as a credit course in high school. For my personal development, it seemed best to do my internship in France. In addition, EM-Technique SARL is the oldest subsidiary of EM-Technik GmbH. English is used, when another nationality is contacted.

What organizational measures did you have to meet in advance?

I searched online for an apartment and a colleague of EM Technique SARL took a look at it for me. I lived in a small apartment. Furthermore, technical issues had to be clarified. Since France is in the EU, I needed no visa or work permit. This saved me a lot of organizational effort in advance. Actually, I just packed my bags and drove by car to France.

How were your first days in France? What were your areas of responsibility?

Already in the first few days a lot of faith was given to me. After a short training period I was able to work independently and in case of doubt I received help directly. I was able to create quotes and process orders. These included order confirmations, creating the delivery note and putting together the packages. The work atmosphere was always warm and friendly. Many times I had to contact German suppliers and I also optimized the warehouse. About the latter I also wrote my work assignment for college, I described the advantages and disadvantages of automation. Ultimately, the warehouse was expanded and I had to sort the references again.

Did you sometimes have the opportunity to explore the country? If so, what were your highlights?

Most of the time I spent in the French capital Paris and the area "région parisienne", which could be reached by train in about 35 minutes. There are many museums and attractions to explore. I particularly liked the "savoir vivre" and the good French food. Another highlight for me was the European Football Championship which I was able to witness first hand. Above all, the Public Viewing at the Eiffel Tower was a lot of fun. Even the final of the Tour de France on the Champs Elysee or the National Day on 14th July were great events.

Do you think there are differences between before and after your stay in France? What is your conclusion and what do you recommend to others who want to do a semester abroad?

I think that especially my French skills have improved. Furthermore, I have noticed that the cultures in France and Germany are much different than I thought to begin with. In general, I am very happy to have got the opportunity for an internship abroad. I think you do not always have to go to Asia or South America. Nearby countries are just as interesting, the EU also offers many different cultures and languages. Whichever country you choose, the experience is unique and the experience can never be taken from you again. If you have the opportunity, you should take the chance!