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Chris Bradlee, Market Development Manager at BASF Wire and Cable Solutions

The wire and cable industry is an ever-changing landscape. From advances in fiber optics to the growth of the electric vehicle market, wires and cables need to do more than just connect and this year’s IWCS International Cable & Connectivity Symposium illustrated just how important that notion is.

We sat down with Chris Bradlee, Market Development Manager at BASF Wire and Cable Solutions, to get his thoughts from one of the year’s most important shows.

Q: What were your impressions from the IWCS Symposium this year?

A: The IWCS Symposium had another great turn out this year. There was a lot of good information about where the markets are and where they are headed, which was great for us to learn as we’re always looking for new areas to innovate. The show itself was attended by a lot of our customers, most of which were from Europe and Asia. Meeting with these customers allowed us to speak directly with them and discuss the benefits and applications for our Elastollan® TPU and Ultradur® PBT products.

Q: What were some of the most common pain points that came up during your conversations at the BASF booth?

A: We’re seeing that more and more customers are looking for halogen-free flame retardant grades that have high performance of mechanical and physical properties. Additionally, we noticed that customers are looking for materials that offer long-term durability with lasting flexibility, while still offering a pleasant feel.

"Thermoplastic polyurethane solutions providing outstanding long-term aging properties for cable applications" by Hr. Dr. Oliver Henze

To view this presentation deck as presented at IWCS International Cable & Connectivity Symposium 2018, click here.

Q: Was there a hot-button topic that came up throughout the show? If so, what was it and how does it put BASF in the position to offer the best innovative solution?

A: Materials that can withstand high temperatures and better withstand flames were the hot items for this show, for sure!

Our high temperature (125° and 150°C) grades of Elastollan garnered a lot of attention for automotive solutions. With the advances we’re seeing in electronic vehicles, we’re also seeing hotter temperatures under the hood, which in turn has raised operating temperature requirements. During my presentation on “Elastollan® HPM – A new series of high temperature and high performance TPUs,” I was able to illustrate to the attendees why BASF continues to be the innovative leader in developing 125°C and 150°C TPUs that perform without compromise.

"Elastollan® HPM – A new series of high temperature and high performance TPUs” by Chris Bradlee

To view this presentation deck as presented at IWCS International Cable & Connectivity Symposium 2018, click here.

In addition to Elastollan® TPU, another topic that came up often at the booth was having a grade suitable for UL FT4 rated cable. FT4 is a FR rating from UL and is the most challenging test for a TPU because of test conditions that need to be achieved. For this, Elastollan® SP 3092 A10 HFFR is BASF’s best candidate material with a limited oxygen index of over 40.

Q: Which BASF products were the most popular at the booth?

A: Ultradur® B6550 LN was very popular at our booth. Customers were very interested in high strength, fast processing PBT for its small diameter, being ideal for wall buffer tubes. Ultradur® B6550 LN is the highest performing product on the market for loose buffer tubes, making it a prime example of how BASF creates innovative solutions for the wire and cable industry.

Customers were also very interested in our flame-retardant (FR) Elastollan® TPU. We’re seeing the demand for halogen-free and low smoke FR grades growing in the global market. Since Elastollan® TPU is the market leader, a lot of people wanted to talk about the available grades. Elastollan® 1185 A10 FHF and Elastollan® 1192 A11 FHF received a lot of attention from customers in our booth for their excellent FR performance while still maintaining the superior physical properties of a TPU.

Q: What are your final takeaways from the IWCS Symposium?

A: This was another great Symposium for us to build relationships with our current TPU and FOC customers. It’s a great learning experience and opportunity to talk with customers about BASF’s innovations in wire and cable.