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GM to Bypass Solvent Use; Dow Upcycles Tires

General Motors is introducing a flame treatment technology that lets paint stick to plastic vehicle parts, such as instrument and door panels, without using primers that contain solvents and can foul the air.

Traditional methods for managing solvent emissions, such as recycling, conversion to energy and breaking down gases through superheating, are costly and time-consuming, GM says. The flame treatment technology, designed by Whitmore Lake, Mich., supplier FTS Technologies, uses a robotic system (pictured) to create a molecular change to the surface of the plastic, making it bond with the paint. The process eliminates the need for an adhesion-promoting primer, GM says.

In other news, Dow Chemical and Lehigh Technologies are collaborating on a project aimed at increasing penetration of “upcycled” tires.

The companies said their joint project will use Lehigh Technologies’ proprietary manufacturing process, which takes tire and other post-industrial rubber material and “upcycles” it into micron-scale, high quality powders that are compatible with customers’ existing formulations, making it easy to integrate into new or existing products.

There are now over 100 million tires containing Lehigh’s micronized rubber powder. In June the company launched an industry-wide campaign to put one billion sustainable-material tires on the road, and says its collaboration with Dow is a critical step towards that milestone.

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