CHICAGO — At NPE 1997, some AlliedSignal Plastics officials traded in marketing, sales and profit margins for baseball, hockey and golf.
But these guys weren't slacking on the job, they were trying to build on the 4-5 percent share sporting goods applications have in the company's portfolio.
Officials discussed these and other topics facing the Morris Township, N.J.-based firm in a June 19 interview at NPE 1997 in Chicago.
Americas sales and marketing director Michael Bogar described sporting goods as ``a sexy market'' for the company.
``Two years ago, it was almost nothing, but we're taking some steps to build it up,'' Bogar said.
Spalding Sports Worldwide of Chicopee, Mass., is testing golf balls with covers made of AlliedSignal's Capron-brand nylon resins, which are in the company's Ultra-Tough resin group. Spalding sells 27 million golf balls annually in a $600 million market.
The new surface, which can be mixed with traditional ionomer materials, offers increased distance, a bonus for golfers looking to extend their drives, said Chuck Hoar, the firm's business development manager for consumer products.
The ball is being tested to see if it meets Professional Golf Association standards. The design was a runner-up in AlliedSignal's design contest.
Baseball and hockey are represented by protective helmets worn by hockey goalies and baseball catchers. Although the number of professional teams is obviously limited, Bogar said there's a large untapped market in college, high school and amateur sports.
The helmets also are made with Capron-brand nylon resins, which offer the toughness and strength needed to protect goalies and catchers from pucks and baseballs traveling at speeds as great as 100 miles per hour.
Other characteristics include reduced weight and cycle times.
The hockey helmets, worn by all NHL goalies, are made by Rhino Sports Group of Mississauga, Ontario. The baseball masks, currently worn by 10 major-league catchers, are made by the Van Velden Co. of Toronto.
AlliedSignal also is getting into what Hoar called the ``extreme games market,'' making parts for skateboards and in-line skates.