The Association of Rotational Molders picked a polyethylene catamaran hull to receive its top product award this year. ARM held the 8-year-old competition during its annual fall convention in Dallas, Oct. 15-17, where the group also elected new directors and officers.
Chosen from 16 entries, the 1995 Product of the Year award went to American Rotational Molding of Anaheim, Calif., which also nabbed a second award for converting the hull from fiberglass to rotomolded plastic.
The company molds the 131/2-foot-long hulls for Hobie Cat Co. of Oceanside, Calif., which uses them to make its Wave catamaran, said Paul White, president of American Rotational. The Wave sells for about $3,000.
With fiberglass fabrication, Ho-bie got only one boat a day out of a couple molds, White said. The switch to rotomolding cut costs and increased production to 12 boats per day, he said.
But, he said, the real value is in the three-layer proprietary process American uses to rotomold the hulls. The white, top layer - a cross-linked PE - lends toughness; the blue, middle layer - linear low density PE with a heat-activated foaming agent - rigidity; and a third, red LLDPE layer - completes the sandwich, making the hull struc-turally sound, White said. The process is interrupted as each plastic layer is added, he said.
For the ARM competition, American Rotational submitted a 4-foot-long cross-section of a hull with molded-in aluminum tubes in both the rear and forward section to connect the two parallel hulls, and molded-in parts for attaching the rudders.
Producing a better part at a lower price ``sounds easy in a college textbook,'' White said, ``but in real life it's tough.''
Regarding ARM's Conversion Award, he was candid: ``We figured we had won.'' But the Prod-uct of the Year win was an unexpected success, he said. His firm also uses the three-layer process to make materials-handling containers and kayaks.
A boat also took ARM's Largest Product award. Logic Marine Corp. of Durham, N.C., makes and sells the boat - a 12-foot-long inflatable tender - under its LogiCraft brand name. The firm uses its two rock-and-roll machines for industrial tanks, tenders and fishing boats, said Bruce Hassen, vice president of operations. Hassen said Logic's I-beam longitudinal support structure allows it to build PE boats 20 feet long that don't bend or warp.
The recognition is especially sweet to Logic, which opened shop in March. The firm did about $100,000 in sales this year, Hassen said, noting that orders for the 12-foot tender alone are backlogged through Jan. 31.
Roto Plastics Corp. captured the PVC category for its rotomolded inflatable gasket. The gasket is a key component in sealing off the inner atmosphere of a rotomolded PE shipping container, being made for an undisclosed Michigan customer, said Vice President Joe Cabello. Roto does both rotational and compression molding at its Adrian, Mich., plant.
A water and oil separator, made by T&D Rotomoulding of Bridgend, Wales, won for being the most innovative state-of-the-art product. T&D converted a three-part piece to a single mold, using air inducers to create deep pockets, ``which are kissed out to the outer skin of the body,'' said an ARM news release.
The recycled product category was vacant again this year, as it has been since its inception.
New ARM officers are: William Blaiklock (Bonar Plastics Inc., Newnan, Ga.), president; Carl Johnson (Durus Industries Inc., Bend, Ore.), vice president; and Thomas Niland (Niland Co., El Paso, Texas), secretary/treasurer. Directors are Marilyn Wade (Rochester Rotational Molding Inc., Rochester, Ind.) and Carl Dobrzeniecki (Iron Mountain Forge Corp., Farmington, Mo.). Sandy Scaccia (Kelch Corp., Cedarburg, Wis.) was elected an associate director.