BERGEN OP ZOOM, NETHERLANDS- By naming 1995 the Year of Extrusion, GE Plastics wants to prove to the construction world its engineering resins aren't just for injection molding anymore. GE Plastics bused about 300 K'95 attendees from Dusseldorf, Germany, to its European headquarters at Bergen op Zoom. The daylong presentations included a tour of a new laboratory with two extruders made by Cincinnati Milacron Austria GmbH and tooling by Actual Ma-schinenbau AG, both of Austria.
Construction is a huge plastics market, but most of that is extruded PVC products such as vinyl siding. One obstacle GE faces is processors' lack of experience extruding engineering resins.
At K'95 in Dusseldorf, the company introduced simulation software that can speed up tooling design, reducing the number of trials.
GE Plastics does not manufacture vinyl - a material that has come under strong attack in Europe from environmentalists.
During the Oct. 10 presentation, GE officials took pains to avoid attacking PVC. They said engineering resins are likely to replace PVC only in niche applications.
``We are not on a mission to attack PVC,'' said Peter Wahs-ner, manager of security systems.
The dreaded C-word - chlorine, a chemical that drives death-skull-masked protesters to march in Europe - was uttered by only one speaker: Hans Berlisg, director of marketing and product management for Cincinnati Milacron Austria.
``(PVC) is an excellent raw material, but we're glad for not depending entirely on it,'' he said.
For the past five years in North America, GE Plastics has tried to convince vinyl window extruders to try its more-expensive Cycolac ABS resin, coextruded with a capstock of Geloy weatherable polymer made of acrylic styrene acrylonitrile. But the firm has had limited success.
Robert Nelson, industry manager of building and construction, said four companies have introduced commercial products using ABS for window frames, cladding or other components. More than a dozen companies are engaged in research and development with GE materials for extruding products that include thermal breaks, hardware and window sills, he said. GE is working on new materials for the construction market.
``An important advantage of ABS for window and door profiles is the higher mechanical strength and higher temperatures, which makes it possible to use ABS in hot climates,'' said Walter Ganzberger, chief executive officer of Actual, a major supplier of window extrusion dies, sizing equipment, pullers and window-fabricating equipment based in Linz, Austria.
Speakers at Bergen op Zoom said the effort will go beyond ABS windows to encompass other extruded building products and other GE resins.
In the GE extrusion lab, a 45-millimeter extruder was running profiles of Xenoy resin, an alloy of polycarbonate and polybutylene terephthalate. A 60mm extruder was making window profiles from Noryl GTX, a blend of polyphenylene oxide and polyamide.
GE Plastics made its major move into construction products in 1989 by opening a concept house, called Living Environments, at the company's headquarters in Pittsfield, Mass. Another, smaller Living Environ-ments opened in Bergen op Zoom in 1994.