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No trade-offs for new PC/polyester

Designers often have to sift through material choices that will give a product most, but not all, of the qualities developers would like it to have. Resin suppliers aim a good deal of R&D efforts at eliminating these trade-offs. GE Plastics, for instance, recently introduced a new resin designed to do just that. Called Xylex, it offers clarity, ductility, and wide-ranging chemical resistance along with special effects.

A blend of PC and aliphatic polyester, Xylex has been in development for several years, according to Dan Oberle, GE Plastics product manager. The key component, the patent-pending aliphatic polyester, is miscible with PC at any concentration, which maintains clarity. The polyester component is also responsible for a broader chemical resistance, eliminating cracking and crazing issues.

Xylex offers added chemical resistance for high-touch products such as mobile phones, computer mice, and other handheld electronic devices. ?Human body oils are pretty aggressive toward plastics, but when you add sunscreen, perfume, and aftershave, the requirements for chemical resistance multiply,? Oberle says.

Other targeted applications include outdoor eyewear such as sunglasses, safety glasses, and helmet shields, as well as recreation equipment. Snowmobile fairings, for example, are expected to be a good fit with this material because it offers exceptional low-temperature ductility and UV resistance.

Injection molding grades of the new material are tintable to virtually any color. This includes transparent, translucent, and opaque versions of Xylex. Also available is the Visualfx Light Diffusion option. Other Visualfx choices for Xylex are in development. These special effects offer to eliminate painting and coating operations by delivering an aesthetically interesting surface as molded.

While the initial focus for Xylex applications appears to be value-added, high-end consumer products, GE Plastics also has come up with industrial applications, such as the cover for a gear box in which the goal is to view inner workings. Oberle sees a fit for gas pumps in this category as well.

Pricing details are not yet available; however, Xylex will definitely carry a premium over PC. ?Customers may add 50 cents in raw material cost, yet gain a $4 premium in selling that product,? he says. ?Rather than replacing PC, Xylex will be offered as a way to make premium products.?

GE Plastics
Pittsfield, MA
(413) 448-4690
www.geplastics.com

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