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May 29, 2000

9 Min Read
Market Focus: Innovations


Regularreaders of this section know that each month we like to highlighta specific market, including the biggest and most popular, suchas the automotive, medical, electronics, and appliance markets.

Unfortunately, in so doing we don't often get the chance torecognize those injection molded products and applications thatdon't fall into well-defined market and industry categories.

As we like to do once each year, this month's Market Focustakes a closer look at innovative molded products in a varietyof applications and end uses.




Acrylic gives thermometers clarity


Eyeglassclarity on its thermometer lenses is the goal of Taylor PrecisionProducts (Oak Brook, IL), the world's oldest thermometer manufacturer.

To achieve this clarity the company relies heavily on AcryliteM-30, an acrylic compound provided by Cyro Industries. The resinis used in its outdoor metal dial thermometer and the company'snew stick-on window thermometer (pictured). Taylor reports thatthe material is scratch and UV resistant, won't yellow, and iseasy to mold.

For more information:
Cyro Industries
Rockaway, NJ
Phone: (973) 442-6000
Fax: (973) 442-6117
Web: www.cyro.com





PP helps make a car bumper into a bench


Anavid golfer who was tired of sitting in his car and changing intoand out of his golf shoes has developed the Bumperseat, a productthat attaches to the rear bumper of nearly any type of vehicle,making for a handy resting spot and easing footwear changes forhikers, skiers, skaters, and golfers.

Designed and developed by GR Technical Services, the seat presentednumerous challenges. It had to withstand dynamic and static loads,meaning the seat had to have enough strength for a large personto sit down and move and stretch. Further, the design requireda foot pedal, which had to be strong and impact resistant. Theresin material had to be able to withstand a variety of weatherconditions, and the seat had to be adjustable to fit on the bumperof most any car, truck, SUV, or other vehicle. Finally, the seathad to fold for storage.

GR Technical Services used 3-D modeling to develop a seat,an adjustable foot step, and a movable support bracket moldedfrom glass-filled polypropylene. A telescoping leg is extrudedfrom PVC. GR Tech performed all of the structural analysis anddid design for manufacturability studies. It verified that theBumperseat could hold up to 500 lb, and ensured survival in asevere impact test in which an SUV ran over the chair. Additionalribbing was added to the original design to impart extra strengtharound the weldlines in the seat.

For more information:
GR Technical Services
Mountainside, NJ
Phone: (908) 233-0101
Fax: (908) 233-2227
Web: www.grtmars.com


Olympic seats support with gas assist


Whileyou're in Sydney, Australia later this year watching the Olympicbasketball team play in the new SuperDome, take a moment to appreciatethe seat you're planted in. Each was made for the arena by CamaticPty. Ltd., an injection molder based in Wantima, Victoria, justoutside Melbourne.

What makes the seats noteworthy is the fact that they weremolded via gas assist. Engineers at Camatic teamed with Battenfeldand used that firm's Airmould gas-assist system to mold the polypropyleneand polyethylene seats.

Two models of seats fill the SuperDome, which holds 15,000to 18,000 spectators. The Quantum Delux tilting model is usedin the main arena area. The 18-person private boxes are equippedwith Camatic's high-end Odeon theater-type seats.

Thick sections of the seats are filled with gas channels thathelp pack out potential sink areas and reduce overall part weight.Camatic uses a Battenfeld HM Series injection molding machine,a three-platen press equipped with a 1000-metric-ton clamp.

For more information:
Battenfeld of America Inc.
West Warwick, RI
Phone: (401) 823-0700
Fax: (401) 823-5641
Web: www.battenfeld.com


Metallized reflectors improve visibility


Thelight bars on police and other emergency vehicles are gettinga visible boost from a new line of reflectors produced by FederalSignal Corp. The company's new Vista line of light bars uses upto six metallized reflectors molded of DuPont's Minlon 11C40 mineral-reinforcednylon. And in Federal Signal's Vision, Jetsonic, and Highlighteremergency lighting products, Minlon has replaced thermoset polyesterand metal reflectors in three additional parts.

SPI Industries (South Bend, IN) molds the reflector componentson highly polished tools that run at about 335F. Reflective surfaceproperties are applied through a vacuum metallizing process performedby Regal Finishing, based in Coloma, MI.

Federal Signal turned to the molded parts in lieu of metalstampings. "Minlon gives us more uniform reflectivity thanmetal stampings," says John Weaver, marketing manager atFederal Signal. The result is cost savings, less assembly thanksto parts integration, and safer assembly with the eliminationof the sharp-edged metal.

For more information:
DuPont Engineering Polymers
Wilmington, DE
Phone: (800) 441-0575
Web: www.dupont.com/enggpolymers/americas


Polyester insulates barbecue feet


Designedfor use outside or inside, the tabletop Tefal electric cookinggrill generates a great deal of heat, none of which the manufacturerwanted to travel down the unit's legs. Preliminary tests of thegrill proved that heat generated by the heating element transferredeasily through the base to other parts of the barbecue.

"We needed a material with excellent heat-resistant propertiesto stop this heat from transferring into the feet, especiallysince the barbecue was designed for tabletop use," says GilesLamarche, an engineer with Tefal SA (Rumilly, France) who workedon the development of the grill.

To eliminate the threat of overheating, Tefal SA chose Thermxpolyester from Eastman Chemical Co. to mold the feet. The resin'sability to insulate and resist heat was the deciding factor.

"For certain markets, Tefal makes an electrical barbecuewith a grill with big crate bars," says Lamarche. "Inthis design, all the heat transfers down the feet of the unit.In fact, the feet can get very warm-up to 100C [212F]." Thebarbecue is designed to hold cooling water to prevent heat transference,but adding the feet molded of Thermx polyester provides an additionalfailsafe feature.

For more information:
Eastman Chemical Co.
Kingsport, TN
Phone: (423) 229-6385
Fax: (423) 229-8595
Web: www.eastman.com
E-mail: [email protected]


Nylon 6 manifold downsizes for small engine


Thedevelopment and use of nylon manifolds in cars and trucks hasbeen growing over the last few years in the automotive industry.Now, a collaborative effort between OEM Briggs & Stratton, molderFlambeau Corp., and material supplier DSM has produced one ofthe first small engine nylon manifolds.

The goal was to produce a less expensive and lighter part thatwould replace the existing diecast V-Twin manifold on the newModel 20 engine. The material chosen, DSM's Akulon J-3/30/HS,is a 33 percent glass-filled, heat-stabilized nylon 6 that reportedlyprovides optimal vibrational welding characteristics that leadto higher burst strength limits.

Scott Sparapani, design engineer with Briggs & Stratton, saysthe greatest challenge was to eliminate the warping between thetwo runners of the intake manifold and have parts that easilymounted on the engine. To solve such problems Briggs & Strattoncollaborated with DSM to perform CAE, structural, and mold analysis,and to assess preproduction operations.

For more information:
DSM Engineering Plastics
Evansville, IN
Phone: (800) 333-4237
Fax: (812) 435-7702
Web: www.dsmep.com


PA gives structure to brace


Kneebraces like this one, manufactured by Innovation Sports Inc.,are designed for long-term use and must endure strenuous workingconditions. The buckle brackets and joint covers on the company'sCTi2 and Edge models are molded of Ultramid B3L nylon 6 from BASF.The brackets and covers are mechanically fastened to the kneebrace's fiber-reinforced-epoxy upper and lower plates. The nylonreportedly provides the high strength and stiffness required forthe buckle's bar that is about 1.25 inches wide and .125 inchthick. Tests conducted by Innovation Sports show the bar arearesists the high pull forces exerted by straps holding the braceto the knee.

Another reported benefit of the nylon is its resistance tocreep. When not in use the braces are stored with the straps cinchedtightly. This puts a high continuous strain on the buckle components,yet the material reportedly consistently returns to its originalshape. Innovation Sports molds the buckles itself at its facilityin Irvine, CA.

For more information:
Mount Olive, NJ
Phone: (973) 426-3910
Fax: (973) 426-3912
Web: www.basf.com/plastics


Cook/chill trays serve it up with polyphenylsulfone


Inthe kitchens of many correctional facilities, cooked food is rapidlycooled to 40F, stored, and then reheated just prior to serving.The containers in which such food is kept are called cook/chilltrays. They must withstand temperature fluctuations of -40 to400F and resist attack from hot water and detergents.

Jones-Zylon, a leading supplier of serving products for correctionalfacilities, molds its cook/chill trays from Radel R, a polyphenylsulfonefrom BP Amoco Polymers. The tray, says Dan Erb, president of Jones-Zylon,provides a safer, longer lasting, cost-effective alternative toprevious trays made from PEI, PC, and PP. "Although traysmade from Radel R PPSU are more expensive initially, they areexpected to last at least twice as long," Erb reports. "Thislowers overall tray costs because you don't have to replace themnearly as often."

The tray is offered in two sizes. The large tray, 5 by 8 by2 inches, holds up to 38 oz and is sold with a lid. The smalltray, 5 by 7 by 2 inches, holds 33 oz. The trays are molded byControlled Molding Inc. in Hadley, PA.

For more information:
BP Amoco Polymers Inc.
Alpharetta, GA
Phone: (800) 621-4557
Fax: (770) 772-8520
Web: www.bp.com


Alcohol tester relies on PC


Typically,convicted drunk drivers would have to forfeit their licenses aspunishment for their offenses. The LifeSafer Interlock providesan alternative. Hard-wired to the starter circuit of the driver'scar, the LifeSafer Interlock tests the driver's breath alcoholcontent before and while driving, and disables the vehicle ifthe alcohol limit is exceeded.

Engineers at LifeSafer needed a housing for the second generationof the unit. "Static was always a problem, particularly inthe winter," says Ed Gollar, director of engineering/productdevelopment at LifeSafer. "This is a handheld device, andtouching it caused a shock that reset the entire system."

The company switched from the PC/ABS it had been using to a300 Series polycarbonate supplied by RTP Co. The material is impactmodified, precolored black, and provides the required ESD protection.

For more information:
Winona, MN
Phone: (800) 433-4787
Fax: (507) 454-8130
Web: www.rtpcompany.com

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