As part of its 1998 compounding roundup, Plastics News asked several compounders to identify products they consider to be undervalued or underutilized.
The products listed may not be top sellers or marketing darlings, but company officials said these underexposed items all have something to offer in both price and performance.
LNP Engineering Plastics — The Exton, Pa., firm hopes its high-specific-gravity line of filled nylon and polybutylene terephthalate compounds will catch on in sporting goods applications — golf clubs in particular. The first such uses were commercialized late last year.
In golf clubs, the HSG compounds offer weight control, which is a key requirement for golfers. Many golf original equipment manufacturers also are looking for alternative materials to avoid environmental concerns surrounding lead.
Ferro Corp. — At Cleveland-based Ferro, the firm's Gapex line of glass-filled and mineral-filled polypropylene compounds have a strong upside in replacing materials such as polycarbonate, ABS and nylon.
Recently, Gapex has been successful in reaching the floor-care market in items such as vacuums, steam cleaners and rug cleaners. The material has grown at a 15 percent annual clip since being commercialized in 1996.
In October, Ferro will open a new production line at its Evansville, Ind., site devoted solely to Gapex production.
GE Plastics — The unsung hero at GE's Pittsfield, Mass., headquarters is its Noryl GTX nylon/ polyphenylene ether compounds.
The company recently introduced new grades of Noryl GTX, with improved processability for exterior auto applications such as fenders. GE hopes the new grades can revitalize the Noryl GTX line, which first was commercialized in the early 1980s.
Michael Day Enterprises — The Wadsworth, Ohio, compounder is getting good mileage out of glass-bead-reinforced nylon in automotive knobs.
The smoother beads are less brittle than fibers and can provide better resistance and quicker processing compared with such materials as ABS.
M.A. Hanna Engineered Materials — In Norcross, Ga., Hanna's MaxBatch polyolefin compounds are allowing processors to cut costs through the use of highly loaded talc or calcium carbonate materials. New technology also is allowing Hanna to increase loadings to as much as 80 percent in some MaxBatch products. The improved products already have seen some success in the auto and large appliance markets.