Case Study

Making lead-free PVC a possibility

With a flood of interest in how industrial processes affect the environment, consumers and regulators are demanding new levels of sustainable products. A steady stream of market opportunities awaits companies that respond to these new challenges – as IMCD’s customers are experiencing.
lead-free PVC pipes

17 March 2023 | Timer icon 2 minutes read | Share case study: LinkedIn logo Email icon

A Thai company came to IMCD’s Advanced Materials team for help develop a range of new-to-market regulatory compliant polyvinyl chloride (PVC) drinking water pipes that could resist heat and sunlight while boasting an improved sustainability profile. Core to the intriguing challenge was replacing the lead-based stabilisers with better alternatives.

The challenge in PVC industrial applications

PVC is inherently unstable and can degrade over time. As a preventive, and to extend the life of PVC materials by ensuring resistance to external factors such as heat and sunlight, stabilisers are added during the manufacturing process.

Lead compounds are the most widely used and cost-effective stabilisers for industrially manufactured PVC products, delivering excellent results and ensuring a long service life.

As a heavy metal, however, lead has adverse effects on health and the environment. Policymakers are therefore mandating alternative stabilisers for industrial and consumer use.

How IMCD stabilises business for PVC manufacturers

In anticipation of forthcoming sustainability regulations, IMCD Thailand had been proactively working to source lead-free materials for just such an eventuality. We know that new regulations can upend existing business models. In such scenarios, customers want solutions that assure continuity, strengthen market share and improve sustainability metrics.

IMCD’s on-ground experts set out to understand the customer’s business and operating environment. Even though, there were certain limitations of operating during coronavirus lockdowns, the team remained on standby throughout the development process.

Building a pipeline to sustainability

The new products have had a significant impact on IMCD Thailand’s ecosystem of customers and suppliers.

Our customer can now offer lead-free PVC pipes that uses stabilisers with a dosage 15-20% lower than competitors’ products. The new PVC water pipes now comply with the Thai Industrial Standard regulations, and the company has received a new production licence for its new range.

The company’s own end clients are satisfied with the new product and are now able to meet growing category demand. Meanwhile, new business has flowed to IMCD’s supplier.

“Overall, IMCD has been able to create a new category of products on the Thai market, says Wasan Pattarapuree, Senior Sales Manager, Sales & Technical Support at IMCD Thailand. “We now aim to explore new opportunities for this new stabiliser in other PVC applications as the market continues moving towards sustainable solutions.”

Partner with IMCD to keep business flowing smoothly

When it comes to formulation challenges, IMCD has nearly three decades’ experience in providing tailored solutions. With our unrivalled technical expertise, a broad product portfolio and in-depth application know-how, we create new opportunities for manufacturers and suppliers alike.

Find out how our Advanced Materials team can help your company solve its business challenges. Reach out to IMCD today.


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