Tritan tackles entire product line

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: June 27, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Consumer Products, Materials, Injection Molding, Suppliers

KINGSPORT, TENN. (June 27, 3:45 p.m. ET) — In less than 10 years, Eastman Chemical Co.’s Tritan copolymer has become an industry standard for consumer water bottles and containers. And it is now extending its market reach in bisphenol A-free plastics.

Tritan is being used in serving trays and containers for restaurant kitchens. Rubbermaid Commercial Products has changed all of its parts previously made of polycarbonate over to Tritan.

“This is a very different conversion than some of the consumer brands which are done one at a time,” said Tim Dell, vice president of innovation, marketing and sales for Kingsport-based Eastman, in a June 20 telephone interview.

For Rubbermaid Commercial Products, the switch meant coordinating production of 174 different products across global manufacturing, while meeting a strict two-year deadline RCP had set for itself to offer only BPA-free plastics for anything involving food handling.

“This was a comprehensive line of products,” added Mark Jackmore, RCP marketing president.

RCP makes a variety of plastic food-handling products used in restaurant and facility kitchens to store and serve foods. Consumers might see some of those containers in a salad bar, but the bulk of them remain behind the scenes.

The company has much of its production in Winchester, Va., and additional production in Asia and Europe. It wanted to retain the best benefits of clear PC — which is durable and allows food handlers to see what’s inside — while offering a BPA-free resin.

Restaurants have asked for alternative materials. Some of those customers are looking at their own sustainability targets, Jackmore said, while others are facing potential government regulations banning food contact with items that have BPA content.

Once RCP went public with a BPA-free pledge, it spent six months in due diligence with a variety of materials, including Tritan. Its sister business, Rubbermaid Home Organization Products and Solutions, had already shifted production of its housewares to Eastman’s material.

However, commercial kitchens are more demanding environments than the home kitchen, Jackmore said. Commercial dishwashers run at higher temperatures and food containers withstand more day-to-day abuse.

Dell said Eastman was fairly comfortable with how Tritan would do in RCP’s testing. The material is already used in some restaurant glasses and has withstood tests of 1,500 washing cycles without cracking, while retaining a clear surface.

Once RCP was satisfied, the two companies still had to work closely together just to iron out the logistics of a simultaneous material changeover in more than 150 different products — many of them large containers with deep-draw shapes.

“There would be issues you experience anytime you move materials, especially with engineering plastics,” Jackmore said. “The ramp-up time always takes longer.”

RCP wanted to drop Tritan right into existing molds for PC in some production. In other cases, it developed new molds to take advantage of improvements in mold making and molding technology.

Eastman and Rubbermaid said they drew heavily from each other as they collaborated on the product launch to make sure the resin would perform, and the firms collocated teams of engineering, marketing and consumer-product specialists.

“All the groups were engaged and cross-engaged,” Jackmore said. “It got to a point where I knew all the Eastman engineers by name — and I’m in marketing.”

The Tritan line of commercial products officially launched in time for the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago in May and is available worldwide, Jackmore said.

RCP and Rubbermaid Home Organization Products and Solutions are units of Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid Inc.


Comments

Tritan tackles entire product line

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: June 27, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

China's PVC exports face challenges

August 22, 2014 2:14 pm ET

Despite robust growth in the first half of the year, China's PVC exports now faces new challenges, due to trade barriers and new capacity ramping up...    More

Image

Westminster Tool creates academy to find, train future toolmakers

August 22, 2014 2:06 pm ET

Westminster Tool Inc. begins its own Westminster Academy to find and train skilled employees.    More

Image

Prosthetic arm concept wins in student thermoforming competition

August 22, 2014 1:56 pm ET

Pressure forming company Freetech Plastics Inc. has returned with its annual Student Thermoformed Part Competition, intended to expand the exposure...    More

Image

Making the most of complexity

August 22, 2014 1:02 pm ET

In the global market for injection molded parts, custom molders have tried a million different ways to differentiate themselves from the pack. Make...    More

Image

Reiloy Westland to build new headquarters

August 22, 2014 12:53 pm ET

Reiloy Westland Corp. will build a 45,000-square-foot headquarters factory, as the Kansas maker of screws and barrels expands under the ownership of G...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events