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ADCA-free compound HE1355 for telecommunications cables.
ADCA-free compound HE1355 for telecommunications cables.

Borealis announces the global commercial launch of HE1355, a high density polyethylene (HDPE) grade free of azodicarbonamide (ADCA). It is claimed as the world’s first chemically-foamed, ADCA-free material intended for the production of telecommunications cables.

The use of HE1355 allows cable manufacturers to bypass altogether any issues arising from the planned inclusion of ADCA on the EU’s Annex XIV of REACH (“Authorisation List”). Thus they can rely on being able to maintain seamless production, irrespective of any potential disruption caused by legislative changes.

The chemical compound ADCA is principally used as a blowing agent in the production of foamed plastics. At present, it is classified as a Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) by the European Chemicals Agency.

However, it has recently been recommended for inclusion in the Annex XIV of REACH, the so-called “Authorisation List.” Inclusion on this list would require producers, converters, and other downstream users to seek special temporary permission for use of this substance in production.

Given the continued growth of the cable sector due to digitalisation, such an action may have adverse effects on the global supply chain.

Anticipating the potentially disruptive effects to the cable industry, Borealis developed a solution for its global customers by creating a new HDPE compound, HE1355.

Free of ADCA and all other SVHCs, HE1355 matches the technical performance of other chemically foamed HDPE grades currently on the market. It combines the proven advantages of its predecessors, Borealis compounds HE1345 and HE1344: superb processability, excellent stabilization, and the requisite toughness for fast multi-pair assembly.

As introduced, the optimal cell structure of HE1355 makes it highly suitable for applications such as foam or foam-skin insulation for telephone singles and data cables with a typical expansion of 35%-40%, as well as for dry core and petroleum jelly-filled cables.

The new compound was successfully tested in a series of customer trials before its global launch in 2019.

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