Plastic could become music to some musicians' ears, thanks to new technology enabling Canadian company Tech-Triangle Plastic Wire Inc. to make Emmite plastic drumsticks.
More than 12 million drumsticks are sold in North America each year. Tech-Triangle President Frank Maine said the company aims to sell one million Emmite drumsticks a year at $19.95 a pair.
Tech-Triangle claims its polyethylene and polypropylene drumsticks are three times stronger and last about five times longer than wooden sticks. It also says its sticks have the same stiffness and sound qualities of wooden sticks and claims the sticks' stiffness and absorption properties help alleviate hand, wrist, arm and shoulder damage from long-term playing. The sticks can be recycled, too.
Tech-Triangle of Guelph, Ontario, is using a process called die-drawing to make the drumsticks.
Professor Ian Ward and his team from the University of Leeds' Centre for Industrial Polymers in England developed the process, in which heated plastic is pulled through a metal die at a temperature lower than that of the plastic's melting point. During the process, the original polymer structure is altered, and the long chain of molecules becomes stretched and aligned along the drawing direction.
Tech-Triangle licensed the technology from the university through BTG International, a company that acquires, develops and licenses intellectual property rights. BTG International is a subsidiary of London-based BTG plc.