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Companies’ advanced materials offer durability, new applications

By: Frank Esposito

November 27, 2012

ATLANTA (Nov. 27, 10:10 a.m. ET) — Georgia Gulf Corp. is one of several compounders that have advanced new materials since midyear. Teknor Apex Co., Elastocon TPE Technologies Inc. and Kraiburg TPE GmbH & Co. KG also are on that list.

Atlanta-based Georgia Gulf has partnered with architectural products maker InPro Corp. of Muskego, Wis., to make rigid PVC blends that are more sustainable, thanks to replacing heavy-metal stabilizers with organic-based ones. The new organic blends will be used by InPro in rigid wall cladding, handrails, crash rails, corner guards and kickplates.

“Our work with Georgia Gulf places us well ahead of the curve,” InPro Chief Operating Officer Glenn Kennedy said in a news release. “We can offer our customers a more eco-friendly PVC blend that retains its great durability.

“Our clients will never know the difference,” Kennedy added. “But we will, and that’s reason enough for us to make the change.”

At Teknor Apex in Pawtucket, R.I., the firm has launched a pair of Chemlon-brand compounds based on nylon 12 for the automotive market. The new materials are aimed to fill gaps caused by shortages of nylon 12 in that sector earlier this year.

The new grades provide the chemical resistance and low moisture absorption required in fuel-line components, according to automotive market manager Jeff Schmidt. One of the grades has a 13 percent carbon-fiber loading for antistatic conductivity, while the other has a 30 percent glass-fiber loading for enhanced strength and rigidity.

Finished dimensions of parts using the new materials are acceptable in existing tooling used for nylon 12, with little to no modification, Schmidt said in a news release. Automotive is the largest end market for Teknor’s Chemlon line. One application in that end market already has been commercialized.

For Elastocon TPE in Rochester, Ill., several new grades of clear compounds based on styrenic block copolymers have been commercialized. The new materials offer medical-products designers and manufacturers a broader selection of materials, officials said in a news release.

Potential applications for the new SBC compounds include grips for medical and dental utensils, as well as knobs and buttons for medical equipment. Officials said the new materials are odorless, can be extruded or injection molded, can be color-tinted and have good tear resistance. All Elastocon grades are latex-free.

Kraiburg TPE — a German firm with U.S. headquarters and compound production in Duluth, Ga. — has found a home for its styrenic block copolymer compounds used in animal-tag readers made by Gallagher Animal Management of Hamilton, New Zealand. Gallagher needed a resilient material that could withstand the harsh conditions of cattle yards. The firm was able to use a Kraiburg material in its pistol-grip-styled reader that could read radio frequency identification tags. The material — part of Kraiburg’s Thermolast K product line — was able to withstand dust, rain and other challenges.