Bayer Corp. and Amsign Corp. have teamed up to help people find their way around the Big Apple.
For almost a year, the New York City Department of Transportation and the New York City Transit Authority's bus stop management office have used 2,700 bus stop signs made by Amsign using Bayer's Lustran-brand ABS and Centrex-brand acrylic styrene acrylonitrile.
Two New York business improvement districts — the Grand Central Partnership and the 34th Street Partnership — also recently installed Amsign's Guidance Pathways directional sign system, which also uses Lustran and Centrex. The project used 1,200 signs in central areas of the city.
In both cases, previous aluminum signs had been damaged or stolen. Transit officials and the business partnerships were looking for new signs that were attractive, user friendly, adaptable and easily maintained and repaired.
That's when Bayer of Pittsburgh and Amsign of South Hadley, Mass., came into the picture.
Amsign Chief Executive Officer Richard Golber knew he needed alternate materials to meet his customers' needs. He found it right off the bat when he met with Bayer officials in late 1996.
``Bayer's product was very reliable and the company was willing to show us quite a commitment,'' Golber said by telephone.
Fred Zaganiacz, Bayer's extrusion business manager, said he thought of extruding Centrex over Lustran when he heard what Amsign needed. Centrex has been used for more than 10 years in profiles and other applications that see ``rugged impact,'' he said.
The blend also offers design advantages over aluminum, Golber said.
``You can do a lot with different sizes and really give a sign dimension and depth and get into box sizes,'' he said. ``To do the same kind of signs in aluminum would cost 11/2 times more.''
``With plastic, the signage and colors can be blended into the city's characteristics and neighborhoods,'' Zaganiacz added. ``You can have something look like it came from the turn of the century or have something that looks crisp and clean.''
A walk through the streets of Pittsburgh convinced Zaganiacz that Amsign's idea would fly.
``I was looking at the different street signs, and it was a little of this and a little of that and it was all jumbled up,'' Zaganiacz said. ``I realized consolidating into one system makes a lot of sense.''
The bus stop and directional signs are made from sheets of Lustran and Centrex extruded by Primex Plastics of Richmond, Ind., then thermoformed by Universal Plastics of Chicopee, Mass.
Amsign silk-screens the message on a reflective film, adheres the film to the substrate and assembles the sign.
Amsign is bidding to expand the bus sign project, which will put signs at 7,200 more locations. The city has 18,000 bus stops.
The Guidance Pathways system is drawing attention elsewhere. Amsign is installing a similar system in Delray Beach, Fla., and is doing development and design work for 20-30 other communities.