CHICAGO — As part of its continuing attempt to develop specialized markets, LNP Engineering Plastics Inc. has announced a licensing agreement that will allow it to produce compounds using Dow Plastics' Questra-brand syndiotactic polystyrene.
Robert Schulz, LNP president and chief executive officer, echoed Dow's claim that Questra will compete with nylon. Schulz said it is too soon in the process to identify possible end products for the material.
Questra ``resembles nylon 6/6 without the moisture sensitivity,'' said George Niznik, LNP's vice president of research and development.
The agreement is one of several LNP has developed in recent years to access technology from other companies. Exton, Pa.-based LNP has similar deals with GE Plastics, Shell Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. for various specialty product lines.
``We want to continue to fill niches major resin companies can't or won't get into,'' Schulz said by telephone. ``Sometimes an area is too small for a major manufacturer, so we'll dust it off and see what we can do with it. If we can use it, the original company will get something back on it.''
LNP's activity in this area is tied into an industry trend that has seen the introduction of several new polymers, said Niznik.
``In the '80s, there were no new polymers and the attitude was `We'll just blend what we have,''' he said. ``But that fell through as a concept. The alloy revolution fizzled and some polymers were pulled off the shelf and commercialized.''
The niche-market approach seems to be paying off for LNP, a division of Kawasaki Steel Corp. of Tokyo, which posted global sales of more than $200 million last year.
At NPE 1997 in Chicago, the company focused on a new compression molding process for its Verton-brand long-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics.