Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, have undergone rapid development over the past few years. Whether as a toy for children and adults or, in top quality, as support for rescue operations and in farming, drones are becoming increasingly common.
Market research institute Gartner estimates that around three million drones were sold worldwide in 2017, almost 40 percent more than in the previous year. Gartner also predicts that drones will be one of the strongest-growing sectors in consumer electronics over the coming years. Corporate consultants at PwC expect a global market of almost USD 130 billion for drone-based services, for example in infrastructure, transport and security. Due to the diverse range of applications that can be carried out using the devices, demands on drones are increasing. This opens up new opportunities for growth for material manufacturers, for example in high-performance plastics.
One challenge facing manufacturers is the limited flight time of drones. As well as improving battery capacity and investigating new sources of energy, manufacturers can also reduce the energy consumption of drones and thus increase their flight time by taking advantage of lightweight solutions, like in the automotive industry. Here, specialty chemicals company LANXESS is able to draw on its experience in the lightweight construction business for the automotive sector and now also offers lightweight solutions for the drone industry using its high-performance plastics.
At Chinaplas 2018 in April this year, the LANXESS High Performance Materials (HPM) business unit presented a range of high-end material solutions, including a drone propeller made of short glass fibre-reinforced Durethan (Polyamide 6). Its balanced material properties makes the injection molded parts lighter while offering good strength and rigidity. The material is resistant against aging by UV rays and therefore well-suited for use outdoors. As a result, drone propellers made of LANXESS plastics convince with their attractive appearance and their longevity.
“In light of the rapid development of the high-tech industry and the increasing popularity of electric drives, LANXESS sees significant, additional potential for the use of its products. Based on LANXESS products PA6, PA66 and PBT, we have developed innovative solutions to meet the demand for high-quality products,” says Dr. Axel Tuchlenski, Head of Global Product and Application Development at LANXESS’s business unit High Performance Materials.