DETROIT — A Pennsylvania company is using PVC to help school administrators and students feel a little safer. Moosic, Pa.-based Comtec Industries introduced its high density polyethylene lockers with transparent PVC doors shortly after a wave of school violence last year. The idea, said company co-owner Delbert Keisling, is to give teachers and other staff members a clear view of any contraband someone might try to hide in a locker.
"Instead of having dogs or locker searches and whatever else, they can just see right inside," Keisling said. "It's a new concept I think is going to be very big."
Comtec had the clear doors on display at the North American Material Handling Show and Forum, held April 10-13 in Detroit.
The company has produced HDPE lockers for years, putting them in place at schools, factories, sports arenas and other sites.
Comtec's toilet stalls and lockers made of HDPE already are in place in city schools in New York and can stand up to any abuse, Keisling said.
Now with PVC doors, the company is providing school designers and administrators another choice when they replace lockers.
"Right after [the shootings] in Columbine [Colo.], a lot of schools started banning book bags and backpacks because they couldn't see what was in them," Keisling said. "This is the same concept."
Companies worried about thefts also could opt for the clear doors, he said.
"We're getting some great response so far," he said.
Comtec also recently began offering the toilet stall doors in polypropylene, which resists graffiti damage.
"With HDPE, a kid can take out a marker and you can get most of it off, but you still have a shadow, a ghost of the image," Keisling said.
Until recently, PP cost too much for that application, compared with HDPE, but changes in resin pricing have made it a viable option, he said.
"We're at least giving the customer the alternative," Keisling said.