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Starting with the first discovery of the unique properties of anionically polymerized block copolymers in 1961 (Holden & Milkovich), Kraton Performance Polymers has supplied a continual stream of innovation, leadership, research and development and capital investment to the SBC industry for over 40 years. As the world-market leader, Kraton contributes its expertise and technology to enhance the processing and performance of hundreds of applications for everyday living, from packaging tape, to elastic components for diapers, to improved roads and roofing.
1960's Invention and the First Major Kraton Application: Footwear
- In an attempt to increase the green strength of anionically polymerized polyisoprene in 1961, Kraton scientists discover that styrene block copolymers have unique thermoplastic and strength properties.
- In 1964, Kraton® D polymer (supplied from the pilot plant in Torrance, California) is formulated into leisure shoes which are lighter and which have improving traction compared to PVC. This launches the first major market for SBCs.
- In 1965 the first patent on unsaturated thermoplastic triblock copolymers is issued
- Kraton patents and develops the technology for hydrogenated Kraton rubber (Kraton G polymer), which increases the compatibility with polyolefins and oil for compounds while extending the UV and thermal stability of styrenic block copolymers
1970's New Plants and Revolutionizing Pressure Sensitive Adhesives
- In 1971 Kraton commercializes several Kraton D polymer grades from the new K-1 plant in Belpre, OH
- Hydrogenated diblock copolymers are commercialized as a Viscosity Index improver in motor oil and justify the construction of the first large scale Kraton G plant in Belpre, OH (1974)
- Kraton launches a new hot melt pressure sensitive adhesive technology featuring SIS Kraton D polymers. Kraton is instrumental in forming the Tappi Hot Melt Adhesives Conference to create a forum for the industry to share hot melt adhesive technology.
1980's Bringing Innovation to Roads and Roofing Worldwide
- Kraton D polymer is accepted globally as the preferred modifier for bitumen used in roofing products
- Kraton D polymer is added to bitumen used in roads, increasing durability and improving rutting and low temperature cracking resistance. Kraton works closely with government agencies, industry forums, and customers to develop performance specifications for modified asphalts in roads
- Functionalized block copolymers are patented and introduced in 1987 for impact modification of engineering thermoplastics
- Kraton G compounds are used in elastic components of disposable diapers to provide comfort, stretch and fit
1990's Soft Touch Technology gains appeal
- "Soft touch" compounds based on Kraton rubber catch on for all types of end-use products including grips for sporting goods, power tools and personal care items
- Kraton commercializes a series of high styrene SBS (75% styrene) for clear rigid packaging and polystyrene modification
- Kraton introduces a latex version of anionically polymerized polyisoprene for glove and medical applications
2000's New Innovations, New Global Standard
- Kraton S polymer (S-I/B-S), a new product that extends the SIS polymer supply and provides unique adhesive properties, is introduced
- A new family of SEBS polymers with an enhanced rubber midblock for improved compatibility and clarity with polypropylene is commercialized. These polymers are also very unique because of low hardness and low viscosity
- Kraton offers more than 100 grades of elastomers and compounds made in 6 different plants around the world.