CHICAGO — In addition to promoting new products at NPE 1997 held in Chicago June 16-20, Ferro Corp. officials were drumming up interest in a pair of items that will not be available until the end of the year.
Several show-goers have asked about the company's unsaturated polyester gel coat — for use in boats and shower and tub interiors — as well as its high-gloss polypropylene compound, which is designed to replace ABS in several applications, according to Jay Finch, plastics vice president.
The polyester gel coat can significantly cut back on shop floor styrene emissions, which are monitored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Finch said.
Some grades of the product are already available, with complete commercialization soon to come.
Ferro intends for the PP compound to be a drop-in replacement for ABS. The new material will be available as soon as Ferro can balance out shrink rate ratios with ABS, Finch said.
Finch also revealed Ferro is negotiating with a major automaker to provide a PP compound for large blow molded interior sections in a process that would replace four smaller parts with a single part, thereby eliminating both fasteners and labor.
New low viscosity black liquid colorants for polyester resin were also featured at NPE. The colorants, which are designed to reduce the amount of colorant residue in containers and promote faster, more uniform distribution of colorant into the base resin, went into production earlier this year at Ferro's Edison, N.J., site.
The Cleveland-based firm is also promoting a new grade of its Ferrocon-brand PP compound aimed at storage bins and dividers for electronic components. The compound prevents static charge buildup or other electrical interference from damaging electrical components, assemblies and loaded circuit boards during storage or handling.
Finch said Ferro's plastics division, which posted sales of $250 million at 14 plants in 9 countries last year, will continue to focus on providing smaller, more-specialized color products to niche customers. In the last two years, the company has initiated operations in Stryker, Ohio, and South Plainfield, N.J., to meet this need.
Finch also repeated earlier statements that a major global realignment announced last month will not have an effect on the company's plastics division.
The realignment will close 30 Ferro sites in Latin America and Europe. Finch said the company's plastics division underwent a similar consolidation between 1991 and 1995 when it reduced its number of sites from 31 to 14.
``We've told our customers `It ain't you and it ain't us,' '' Finch said of the realignment.