Sulfur Free Clay

You may not be aware but as from July 1st 2006 legislation by the European Union has banned several compounds that are currently used in circuit board manufacturing. The main culprit being lead, used in the soldering of circuitry. In Europe, the RoHS, Restriction of Hazardous Substances, will ban the placing on the EU market of any new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than the agreed levels of lead, cadmium and mercury.

What this means in terms to a design studio is, all new computer equipment installed will have less of a tolerance to the sulphur content of the clay accounting for a sooner than later break down of the computer circuit boards due to sulphur contaminant. Although this has not officially been confirmed it is suspect at two studios using sulphur containing clays, they have already reported computer failures shortly after installation. If this is indeed the case then we will find that computer warrantees will be invalid in the studio environment until the modeling clay used is totally sulphur free. The fact that Europe has taken this environmental stand it is only a matter of time before it becomes worldwide.

Ovens that have been retro fitted with a filtration system will still not contain the airborne sulphur that is attacking the now sensitive circuitry. Most of the clay suppliers are aware of this situation and do offer a sulphur free clay although the acceptancy of this product within the studios is still to be embraced. Suppliers such as Eberhard Faber have their version of sulphur free clay and you will find that the melting point for this clay to be 5-10 degrees C lower(41-50F) than the traditional sulphur based clay. Even with the aspect of being lighter in weight and more environmentally friendly the fact is these clays have not had as much research as the traditional sulphur based clays. Sulphur free research is probably 5-10 years in the making where the traditional clays have had decades of research to refer to. The bottom line is, consistency may become an issue.

Chavant a company that has over 100 years of experience in producing clay modeling products has its own variety of sulphur free clay called Y2-klay. This has a working temperature of 135 degrees F (57C), resistant to shrinking and cracking because of the higher wax content, easy to mill and does not stick to the milling cutter as bad as the traditional clays. Chavant has been pro-active in its research to provide a clay that is sulphur free and probably is the leader in as far as consistency for this type of product. Even so with todays climate within the petroleum companies, the reliability of by-products that are used to make the waxes is at risk causing never ending research to formulate a consistent blend for each batch of clay. The demand for these raw materials is such, that it is not guaranteed to be available when needed for the next run. These are the hurdles that todays clay suppliers have to face.

With the emergence of China and India as automotive hot spots, the use of certain ingredients will be in demand, possibly causing a run and shortage of key compounds in the production of clay and more than lightly an increase in cost in the near future. With the continual battle to gain market share by the automotive companies the use of automotive clays can only increase with each company trying to develop designs to draw in the fickle public, this in turn will no doubt put pressure on the already stretched clay suppliers for an increase in output.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>