DALLAS — ICI Acrylics Inc. of Cordova, Tenn., is increasing efforts to market its Lucite TufCoat grade of acrylic polymer as a capstock for vinyl siding and other plastic construction products.
At least one of the products displayed at the International Builders' Show in Dallas used ICI's acrylic to provide rich, dark colors and a highly weatherable surface.
``We're working with the major siding guys on different color products,'' Andrew Clelland, global market development manager for ICI Acrylics, said by telephone after the show.
Clelland said the TufCoat resin is more flexible than other acrylic grades, so it can withstand the thermal expansion and contraction that vinyl construction products often endure.
While the resin can be made into a film for laminating onto a vinyl substrate, its most common use will be as a coextruded layer.
``Coextrusion is kind of a well-known process,'' Clelland said, adding that TufCoat pellets are ``very processing friendly'' with extrusion characteristics that match vinyl.
The resin can be applied as thin as 3-4 mils, as opposed to 6-10 mils common for other capstock materials, Clelland said.
``It provides a very attractive system cost,'' he said.
Norandex Building Products of Macedonia, Ohio, displayed its Canyon Collection of vinyl siding trim and accent pieces that use ICI's acrylic capstock material.
Norandex, a subsidiary of Toledo, Ohio-based Owens Corning, introduced its acrylic-capped line at the 1998 homebuilders' show, and started selling the products later that year, Doug Price, product manager for Norandex, said.
Norandex also is working on producing a full siding panel with the acrylic capstock, Price said.
``With customers there truly is a demand for darker colors,'' he said.
The increased weatherability of acrylic vs. vinyl gives processors the option of darker siding without worrying about it fading.
``If there has been one negative about vinyl siding it is the color palette. Everything has been so pastel,'' Price said.
``We believe somewhere down the road dark colors will penetrate the [siding] industry,'' he said. ``You can bet every manufacturer is R&Ding dark colors. We're still hoping to be the first one out with a good product.''
But a drawback of dark colors is they absorb more heat than lighter shades. That can create problems with thermal distortion, especially with larger panels.
Price said Norandex's smaller acrylic-capped components have not suffered from fading or heat distortion, and the company is moving onto bigger profiles. Norandex already has installed a full siding product on a few homes.
``It is a priority for us,'' Price said, but added Norandex is taking a cautious approach to the product. ``Everybody wants to be a leader, but the worst thing you can do is put out a new product and pull it back.''
ICI also is developing more uses for its TufCoat resin, including injection molding applications that can be used with two-shot machines, Clelland said.
ICI Acrylics, a subsidiary of Imperial Chemical Industries plc of London, makes the resin at its plants in Memphis, Tenn., and Rozenburg, Netherlands.