ATLANTA — Better Bath Components Inc. is testing a coextrusion of GE Plastics' polyester-based Enduran resin and Cycolac ABS in thermoformed bathtubs, shower surrounds, vanity tops and other such products for manufactured housing.
Spartech Plastics of Clayton, Mo., is coextruding the sheet for the project, said Dennis Kopp, GE Plastics' new business development manager for building and construction.
Some of the Better Bath products should be on the market by year-end and will target the higher end of the factory-built housing market — ``the toughest industry to target first because of its low price points,'' Kopp said Sept. 15 at the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Division conference in Atlanta. Better Bath's applications include a one-piece vanity and sink countertop for Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. of Riverside, Calif., he said.
The 0.245-inch coextrusion is about 70 percent Cycolac with a 30 percent cap layer of Enduran, though the cap's thickness can vary, Kopp said. ReedSpectrum is putting together color masterbatches of Enduran for GE, which plans to offer nine colors of the resin to start.
Enduran, formerly known as Heavy Valox, is an impact-modified, heavily filled polybutylene terephthalate that offers stain resistance and a renewable surface that is similar to more-expensive cast acrylics, according to Kopp.
Formica had exclusive rights to the material, under the trade name Nuvel, for certain sheet and sink applications until January 1997, Kopp said.
He added that the Cycolac-Enduran coextrusion can be thermoformed on ABS tooling. The 30-40 coextruded sheet scrap generated in thermoforming applications is ``completely reusable with Enduran'' without property loss, Kopp claims.
Better Bath and Duo-Form Corp., thermoforming units of publicly held Shelter Components Corp. of Elkhart, Ind., had 1995 sales of $36 million in ABS products for the manufactured housing and recreational vehicle markets.