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Innovation Award for Epoxy Division

June 2012

The Epoxy division of Aditya Birla Chemicals (Thailand) Limited (ABCTL) has won the prestigious JEC Innovation award 2012 in the Materials category for its project to develop particleboards from eco-friendly materials such as Vetiver grass. Mr. Marut Jitpatima, the Thai Ambassador to Singapore, presented the award to the ABCTL team at JEC Asia 2012 event, held in Singapore, on 26 June 2012. The project, accomplished jointly with the Department of Forest Products, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, comprised development of particleboards using alternative and environment friendly materials, which facilitated safer handling, reduced health risks and supported conservation of natural resources, as compared to the conventional materials.

Vetiver grass, a tropical plant grown in Thailand and in surrounding regions, was used instead of the natural wood-based materials as reinforcement, in combination with epoxy resin as the binder. The use of epoxy resin as a binder addressed the key issues related to safe handling, emissions and exposure to human beings, observed for the formaldehyde and isocyanate binders.

The epoxy resin developed for use as binder, is a non-hazardous, non-toxic formulation [LD50 (oral) > 5,000 mg/kg, no prohibited risk phrase], which neither contains nor liberates any volatile compounds or substances classified as Carcinogenic, Mutagenic and Repro-toxic (CMR) chemicals.

Performance properties of the particleboards prepared from the new materials were tested according to the specifications of the Thailand Industrial Standards Institute (TISI), which indicated higher mechanical stiffness and relatively lower thickness swelling as compared to the particleboards prepared from existing materials.

The ease of raw material availability, unchanged manufacturing process and cost economics make the project commercially viable. The project also illustrates the commitment of the company for collaborative work with academics, in working for the betterment of the society and environment.

The project holds a strong potential to replace the existing materials and facilitate the growth of the wood composite industry.

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