SAN ANTONIO — Sentinel Products Corp. is counting on silane-grafted metallocene foams to continue the company's promising growth pattern.
Scott Smith, chief operating officer, said the silane cross-links are ``part of a new generation of thermoelastomers that are not really [thermoplastic elastomers].''
According to Smith, the silane cross-links provide enhanced flexibility that approaches that of conventional plastomers or thermoset rubber. Applications for the material include cushion packaging, gaskets and seals, adhesive tapes and automotive interiors.
The metallocene foam also can replace PVC/nitrile rubber in life jackets, Smith said.
Smith, who spoke during a TPE development session at Flexpo 97 in San Antonio, added that the Hyannis, Mass., firm stuck with metallocene foam research when others were giving up on the concept. Sentinel has totaled $25 million in metallocene foam sales in the past two years as a result.
``Silane-grafting had been done in pipes and cables but not in metallocene foam,'' Smith said. ``A lot of people said it couldn't be done.''
Sentinel recorded $30 million in sales in 1996 and is on track to reach the $45 million to $50 million mark this year. The company added 15 million pounds of extrusion capacity for cushion packaging foams at its Richfield Springs, N.Y., plant earlier this year at a cost of between $8 million and $10 million.