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First Solar, a global leader in the maintenance and operation of solar energy facilities, conveyed a periodic replacement problem to high-performance polymer manufacturer Arkema.  First Solar was seeing instances of nylon cable ties breaking down and cracking in severe heat and chemical-contact environments. With more than 50 years of experience in supplying Kynar® fluoropolymers in outdoor weathering environments in the form of architectural finishes, corrosive waste piping, and cable jacketing, Arkema recommended that First Solar consider Nile Polymers’ commercially available cable ties made with Kynar Flex® PVDF resin.

A joint Arkema—First Solar technical service team set up an outdoor testing program utilizing approximately 10,000 Kynar Flex® PVDF cable ties at a First Solar site in Southern California for one year, where Nylon 66 cable ties had seen some failures in less than six months.  After one year in the challenging field environment, all of the tested Kynar Flex® PVDF cable ties exhibited properties similar to a control. In parallel, laboratory accelerated tests involving 4000 hours of Xenon Arc exposure showed little change in the physical and mechanical properties of the Kynar Flex® PVDF samples, while various nylon samples showed a quick deterioration of physical properties over the same time period. In addition, testing under thermal-cycling, damp-heat and freeze-thaw conditions showed no change in the properties of Kynar Flex® PVDF cable ties, while more significant reductions were seen with the nylon (polyamide) cable ties.

Replacing cable ties due to failure is five to ten times the cost of the original cable ties.  Building the assembly right the first time with a tie that could likely last the entire lifetime of the system can result in significant long-term cost savings.  With First Solar’s commitment to excellence in operation and maintenance of solar facilities, the option of Kynar Flex® PVDF cable ties deserves mention.  First Solar plans to continue the testing program to obtain a full assessment on the relative performance of a cable tie made with Kynar Flex® PVDF as part of its overall product durability program.

A designer of materials and innovative solutions, Arkema shapes materials and creates new uses that accelerate customer performance. Our balanced business portfolio spans High Performance Materials, Industrial Specialties and Coating Solutions. Our globally recognized brands are ranked among the leaders in the markets we serve. Reporting annual sales of €8.3 billion ($9.4 billion) in 2017, we employ around 20,000 people worldwide and operate in some 55 countries. We are committed to active engagement with all our stakeholders. Our research centers in North America, France and Asia concentrate on advances in bio-based products, new energies, water management, electronic solutions, lightweight materials and design, home efficiency and insulation.

Kynar® and Kynar Flex® are registered trademarks of Arkema Inc.