Global water security initiatives, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, are pressuring water industry leaders to improve drinking water safety, reduce their carbon footprint, and manage water resources more sustainably. As a result, more water distribution systems are being fitted with smart water meters, which measure usage more precisely, detect leaks, and track peak consumption hours. The global market for these Internet of Things (IoT) devices is estimated to be valued at $8.61 billon US by 2026—which creates opportunities for water system parts manufacturers to differentiate themselves and win new business.
Today, manufacturers of device parts such as turbines, head rings, and measuring chambers are quickly replacing brass and copper material solutions proven to leach toxic levels of lead. Yet, to protect the safety of consumers, suppliers need to eliminate the risk of any potentially harmful substances leaching into drinking water by ensuring all materials comply with evolving regulations – including NSF 61 and Germany’s widely-used KTW-BWGL standard.
Part reliability during assembly and use, as well as long-term durability are critical to preventing leaks that lead to costly home or business repairs that damage a suppliers’ reputation with network providers. As a result, water meter parts made of thermoplastics, including polyamide 66, polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), polyphenylene oxide (PPO), and polyphthalamide (PPA), need to be tested extensively prior to approval.
As demand for hot and potable water systems in emerging economies grows, manufacturers face material supply chain globalization challenges. Any supply chain disruption can lead to production delays, late product launches and lower profit margins. Shifting water contact regulations combined with limited supplies of fully certified materials may slow down part approval processes, which further stalls production. This may result in part producers rushing material program changes as a contingency plan – which may compromise the reliability of end-parts.
To gain a competitive edge, manufacturers need to proactively accelerate brass replacements, identify safe, sustainable and reliable drop in solutions, and improve contingency plans by leveraging multiple trusted materials. DSM’s water meter thermoplastics portfolio addresses the key safety, reliability and sustainability concerns manufacturers face. Our EcoPaXX®, ForTii® and XytronTM solutions comply with key drinking water contact regulations, including NSF 61 and KTW-BWGL, while providing excellent hydrolytic aging performance that minimizes the risk of leaks.
Our materials demonstrate best-in-class hydrolysis resistance, moisture uptake, weldline strength and dimensional stability that enhance part reliability in use and assembly. Compared to a competing low glass transition (Tg) PPA, EcoPaXX demonstrates a 30% higher retention modulus after extensive water conditioning – enabling manufacturers to reduce component wall thickness and improve torque resistance. ForTii and Xytron, which are optimized for hot water applications, offer superior weldline strength after aging in 95°C to 110°C water compared to PPA and PPS competitors.
With its broad processing window and high ductility, EcoPaXX is ideal for complex tooling and is a drop-in replacement for PA66. The material’s high flow and slow crystallization speed results in outstanding surface quality, sealing properties, overmold stability and bonding performance in final parts. Xytron is widely used to replace brass and alternative PPS due to its high stiffness, heat aging performance and flow. It also generates lower flash, which offers manufacturers greater design flexibility while reducing the length of post-production processes.
At DSM, protecting the planet is central to our purpose. Our thermoplastics are meticulously engineered to help manufacturers around the world solve critical design challenges and deliver more sustainable products by responding to their unique and ever-changing requirements. Beyond our EcoPaXX grades, which are 70% renewable feedstock, DSM is committed to helping our customers deliver more sustainable products by launching bio-based or renewable versions of all our materials within ten years. Each thermoplastic solutions is available globally, and our teams, which operate around the world, directly support suppliers in selecting the material grades best equipped to meet, and often exceed, their customers’ expectations.
10 November 2021
Making drinking water safer with sustainable materials for faucet components
Specialty polymers meet the need for lead-free water contact solutions
Market Development Manager at DSM Engineering Materials
After obtaining his Ph.D. in supramolecular and organic chemistry, Pim Janssen began his career at DSM as a chemist for the engineering plastics Akulon (PA6) and the biobased EcoPaXX (PA410). He also spent a few years in product development and program management for high temperature polyamides ForTii (PPA), Stanyl (PA46), EcoPaXX (PA410) and Xytron (PPS). In 2018, he joined the business management team as market development manager for water and food contact, industrial applications, and to develop a unreinforced PPA portfolio.
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